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Broadway theatre, named after the Broadway Street and popularly known as Broadway refers to performances in a theatre which may be exclusively musical or a combination of musicals, comedy or/and dance. Broadway is presented in up to 40 professional theatres located across the Lincoln Center along Broadway and the Theater District, having more than 500 seats in them each.
The commercial value of Broadway production during the early times (around the 1700s) cannot be compared to what it is now. This is seen in the value of the total amount of tickets purchased in 2014 which was estimated to be a record US$1.36 billion. Also, the cost of production for Broadway shows are now more expensive.
Thanks to the creativity of two individuals - Walter Murray and Thomas Kean (both actor-managers) in the 1700s who started a resident theatre company, New York began to have noteworthy presence in theatre operations. This theatre was located on Nassau Street and had a capacity of 280 persons. More often than not, Ballad Opera (e.g. The Beggar’s Opera) and Shakespeare dramas were presented.
Performance continued with other actors from Britain also collaborating to produce other plays such as Merchant of Venice. Unfortunately for the young and growing theatre industry in New York, the Revolutionary War suspended theatre productions. However, after the war, theatre activities resumed in 1798 with the building of Park Row which is located in Chatham. Afterwards, many top quality theatres sprung up amongst others during the early – mid 1800s.
On Broadway stage, American actor Edwin Booth was notable internationally for his performance as Hamlet in one of the many William Shakespeare plays which is performed regularly. From downtown to mid-town, the New York theatre moved because of access to less costly real estate.
Between the late 1800s – early 1900s, different Broadway champions emerged. This included “A Trip to Chinatown” by Charles Hoyt (1891) which had 657 performances which remained Broadway’s champion until it was outperformed by Irene in 1919. New York Broadway was later faced with uncertainty as a result of The Great Depression causing the number of Broadway shows to reduce drastically in the 1930’s. Before then, there were a number of classic shows that premiered in the 1920’s. Among them was “The Jazz Singer”.
In the 20th century, the Broadway was nicknamed “The Great White Way” because shows on Broadway installed electric signs which were made of white lights to advertise shows outside the theatres. This soon became a landmark in New York City. At about this time, Broadway theatres gained access to the Times Square in New York.
--Benjamin Walker likely to star in “Look Away”, an upcoming dark comedy.
--Ghostlight Records set to release “It Shoulda Been You” – A cast Broadway music album.
--Samantha Barks confirmed to lead “Amelie” - a world premiere musical from the stables of Berkeley Repertory Theatre. (You don’t want to miss this!!!).
--New monarchs at the Lincoln center. Hoon Lee and jose Llana to star as replacements In “The King and I”.