Broadway theatre[1] is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. Broadway theatre, or a Broadway show, refers to a performance (usually a play or musical) staged in one of the thirty-nine larger professional theatres located in the New York City borough of Manhattan, with 500 seats or more, that often appeal to the mass audience.[1]

Unlike most developed nations, the US has no nationwide government-subsidized theatre program, and thus the shows that reach Broadway and thrive there have historically been perceived as more populist or crowd-pleasing, less avant-garde or challenging than the plays produced Off-Broadway or in regional non-profit theatres such as the Guthrie Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre.

Runs Edit

Broadway shows may run for a varying number of weeks, depending on ticket sales. Musicals tend to have longer runs than do stage plays. On January 9, 2006, The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre became the longest running musical with 7,486 performances when it overtook Cats[2].

In addition to long runs in Broadway theatres, producers often copy the production with a new cast and crew for the Broadway national tour, which travels to theatres across the country. Both musicals and stage plays on Broadway and in their respective tours often rely on casting well-known performers in leading roles to draw larger audiences or bring in new audience members to the theatre. Actors from movies and television are frequently cast for the revivals of Broadway shows or are used to replace actors leaving a cast. Many performers, however, are still primarily "stage" actors, who spend more time on the stages of New York and will appear in television and screen roles as a secondary venue.

Stage actors generally once looked down on other venues, notably film and television, and it was common to hear stagecraft referred to as "legitimate theatre" - the implication being that film and television were not legitimate. This mostly due to the fact that on the stage, one has to get it right the first time as there are no "second takes" before a live audience.

Audience Edit

Seeing a Broadway show is a common tourist activity in New York and a business that generates billions of dollars annually. The TKTS booths--one in Duffy Square (47th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue) and one in Lower Manhattan--sell same-day tickets for many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows at half price. This service helps sell empty seats and makes seeing a show in New York more affordable. Many Broadway theatres also offer special student rates, same-day "rush" tickets, or standing-room tickets to help ensure that more people have the opportunity to see Broadway shows.

Some theatregoers prefer the more experimental, challenging, and intimate performances possible in smaller theatres, which are referred to as Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway (though some may be physically located on or near Broadway). The classification of theatres is governed by language in Actors' Equity Association contracts. To be eligible for a Tony, a production must be in a house with 500 seats or more, which basically defines Broadway theatre. Some theatres (by adding or subtracting seats) can convert from Off-Broadway to Broadway and vice versa. Audience is the whole reason why shows become long running shows.

Total Broadway attendance in 2005 was just under 12 million [3]. This was approximately the same as London's West End theatre [4].

Tony Awards Edit

Broadway shows and artists are honored every June when the Antoinette Perry Awards (Tony Awards) are given by the American Theatre Wing. The Tony is Broadway's highest theatre award. The importance of these awards has increased since their annual broadcast on television began. Celebrities are often chosen to host the show, like Hugh Jackman and Rosie O'Donnell, in addition to celebrity presenters. While some critics have felt that the show should focus on celebrating the stage, many others recognize the positive impact that famous faces lend to selling more tickets and bringing more people to the theatre. The performances from Broadway musicals on the telecast have also been cited as vital to the survival of many Broadway shows. Many theatre people, notably critic Frank Rich, dismiss the Tony awards as little more than a commercial for the limited world of Broadway, which after all can only support a maximum of two dozen shows a season, and constantly call for the awards to embrace off-Broadway theatre as well.

List of Broadway theaters Edit

  • If no show is currently running, the play listed is the next show planned (dates marked with an * )
  • If the next show planned is not announced, the play listed is the last one that closed.
Theatre Current show Address Opening date
Ambassador Theatre Chicago 219 West 49th Street November 14, 1996
American Airlines Theatre Prelude to a Kiss 227 West 42nd Street March 8, 2007 *
Brooks Atkinson Theatre A Moon for the Misbegotten 256 West 47th Street April 9, 2007 *
Ethel Barrymore Theatre Company 243 West 47th Street November 29, 2006
David Belasco Theatre Journey's End 111 West 44th Street February 22, 2007 *
Vivian Beaumont Theatre (at Lincoln Center) The Coast of Utopia 150 West 65th Street November 5, 2006
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me 242 West 45th Street August 17, 2006
Biltmore Theater Translations 261 West 47th Street January 25, 2007
Edwin Booth Theatre The Year of Magical Thinking 222 West 45th Street March 29, 2007 *
George Broadhurst Theatre Les Misérables 235 West 44th Street November 9, 2006
The Broadway Theatre The Color Purple 1681 Broadway December 1, 2005
Circle in the Square Theatre The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee 1633 Broadway May 2, 2005
Cort Theatre The Little Dog Laughed 138 West 48th Street November 13, 2006
Gershwin Theatre Wicked 222 West 51st Street October 30, 2003
John Golden Theatre Avenue Q 252 West 45th Street July 31, 2003
Helen Hayes Theatre Jay Johnson: The Two and Only 240 West 44th Street September 28, 2006
Hilton Theatre The Pirate Queen 213 West 42nd Street April 5, 2007 *
Al Hirschfeld Theatre Curtains 302 West 45th Street March 22, 2007 *
Imperial Theatre Coram Boy 249 West 45th Street May 2, 2007 *
Walter Kerr Theatre Grey Gardens 218 West 48th Street November 2, 2006
Longacre Theatre Talk Radio 240 West 47th Street March 11, 2007 *
Alfred Lunt-Lynn Fontanne Theatre Beauty and the Beast (Soon Opening: The Little Mermaid (musical) in Fall) 205 West 46th Street April 18, 1994 (Closing July 29, 2007)
Lyceum Theatre Inherit the Wind 149 West 45th Street April 12, 2007 *
Majestic Theatre The Phantom of the Opera 247 West 44th Street January 26, 1988
Marquis Theatre The Drowsy Chaperone 1535 Broadway May 1, 2006
Minskoff Theatre The Lion King 1515 Broadway June 13, 2006
Music Box Theatre The Vertical Hour 239 West 45th Street November 30, 2006
Nederlander Theatre Rent 208 West 41st Street April 29, 1996
New Amsterdam Theatre Mary Poppins 214 West 42nd Street November 16, 2006
Eugene O'Neill Theatre Spring Awakening 230 West 49th Street December 10, 2006
Palace Theatre Legally Blonde: The Musical 1564 Broadway April 29, 2007 *
Richard Rodgers Theatre Tarzan 226 West 46th Street May 10, 2006
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre A Chorus Line 236 West 45th Street October 5, 2006
Sam S. Shubert Theatre Spamalot 225 West 44th Street March 17, 2005
Neil Simon Theatre Hairspray 250 West 52nd Street August 15, 2002
St. James Theatre The Producers 246 West 44th Street April 19, 2001
August Wilson Theatre Jersey Boys 245 West 52nd Street November 6, 2005
Winter Garden Theatre Mamma Mia! 1634 Broadway October 18, 2001

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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