With a rich cultural history dating back hundreds of years, the Broadway theatre district remains one of the city of New York’s most iconic locations. Located in Manhattan, the district spans the area between 41st & 53rd St and Sixth & Ninth Avenue, and, like many areas around New York City, has undergone a range of transformations resulting in the world-renowned entity it is today. Those who have visited New York, like Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others, may regard the theatres of Broadway to be amongst the city’s greatest treasures.
Theatre has long held a presence in the city of New York. Once located downtown, the city’s theatre district gradually migrated to the streets of Midtown around 1850. From Union Square during the 1870s to Madison Square by the 1900s, the epicentre of Broadway arrived in its present Time Square location during the early part of the century. Whilst Broadway’s popularity wasn’t wide-spread until this time, musicals in NYC had already been established since 1750. It was during this time that two actor-managers from the area, Walter Murray and Thomas Kean, established a theatrical company housing 280 residents. The company would later pave the way for the birth of others scattered throughout the city whereby they would later consolidate to the Broadway area during the 1920s and 1930s.
The Broadway district has undergone various transformations over the years. Today, it is comprised of over 40 theatres, numerous of which extend beyond the boundaries of its namesake street. The Majestic Theater and Metropolitan Opera are amongst the most popular of venues. With over 1,500 performances each year, the Broadway strip remains highly competitive for thousands of hopeful actors and musicians vying for a turn at the spotlight. According to recent data, Broadway theatres sold more than US$1.26 billion in ticket sales during the 2013-2014 season while attendance stood at over 12 million.
Throughout the history of Broadway, there have lived numerous actors of outstanding popularity, many of whom began their road to fame there. Some of Broadway’s most successful performances include musicals such as “Cabaret”, “Les Miserables” and the long-running “Mamma Mia”. Whilst these shows remain amongst Broadway’s greatest, many have gone on to translate to the silver screen, demonstrating the outstanding cultural impact of plays originating from the famed Broadway district of New York. Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others with an appreciation for the city of New York may continue to flock to the theatres of Broadway for world-renowned entertainment and a sense of nostalgia of the New York of the past.