Broadway theatre 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Broadway.com Tickets and Information Guide
- Theatre.com London Theatre Guide
- American Theatre Wing.org
- The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc.
- BroadwayWorld.com - Extensive Theatre Site
- Theatre Communications Group
- Actors' Equity Association
- The Dramatists Guild of America
- Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers
- American Federation of Musicians
- Costume Designers Guild
- Broadway Theatre Archive
- United Stages / See More Shows
- Broadway Cast Recordings
- Broadway Show Guide
- The Internet Broadway Database
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