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Broadway at night

New York City has a rich history in performance theater. Today, there are 41 theaters on Broadway. Millions of people come to New York City to see some of the best performers in the world dance, sing, and act. There is a cultural cache that comes with seeing a performance on Broadway. You are in a theater that oozes classical design that transports you back in time. There is elegance, class, and sophistication that modern theaters do not have. So purchase your tickets, get dressed up, and head out for a night you will never forget.  


Theater has a rich history in New York. Broadway origins date back to 1750 when the first theater was established. However, it wasn’t until after the Revolutionary War that more theaters began to appear in New York. Many of the theaters constructed during the turn of the century are still standing and operating at theaters today.  

Traditional theater gave way to silent pictures, Vaudeville, and Ziegfeld Follies. However, the Great Depression brought challenging times for these entertainment establishments. It wasn’t until the years following that Broadway began to reestablish itself. Over the next several decades, Broadway saw a roller coaster of positive and tough times. However, it wasn’t until the 70s that it experienced a decline as devastating as during the Great Depression. During this tie, New York City struggled with crime, drugs, and homelessness. Much of this took place in Times Square and theater row. As a result, many of the theaters ceased play production and were converted into more seedy uses.  

It wasn’t until the late 80s, 90s, and early 2000s that Broadway began a new era. During this time, the New York Government took steps to clean up the area and make it more family-friendly. This included shutting down the more questionable and controversial businesses. The crime was addressed. New theater productions were encouraged to come back. The most notable is Disney’s, Lion King. Today, strolling down Broadway is one of the safest places you can be in New York. The street is alive with lights and theatergoers.  

Broadway street sign

Broadway vs. Off-Broadway  

Broadway shows that are in theaters with more than 500 seats are considered “on Broadway.” Theaters that have between 100 and 499 seats are considered off-Broadway. Theaters that have less than 100 seats are off-off-Broadway. Do not let the number of seats impact your decision to see a particular show. The smaller theaters can provide a more intimate theater experience.  

What To See 

Do not let other people sway you when choosing the show you will see. Instead, look for a show that appeals to your interests and taste. The Lion King is the stage adaptation of the classic, much-loved movie. It’s also one of the longest-running and best-selling Musicals on Broadway. Chicago will transport you back in time to when jazz music was king. Moulin Rouge is a spectacle of color and talent that rivals the movie featuring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. The Book of Mormon is a surprisingly funny musical. Hamilton is one of the newer shoes on Broadway that has taken the theater world by storm. Finally, wicked is a long-term favorite that has become one of the most successful musicals on Broadway.  

How To Visit  

If you decide to visit Broadway, purchasing tickets to a show is the best way to experience this unique side of New York. While there are 41 theaters on Broadway, only the stretch between 42nd and 53rd streets is considered the theater district. Find a show that appeals to you and purchase tickets in advance. This ensures you get the seats that you want. Traffic gets heavy around showtime, so plan for this if you take a taxi or car service to the show. 

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