Location: New York, New York
Address: 1681 Broadway
Capacity: approx 1760
The Broadway Theatre is one of five playhouses in New York City to bear the name yet is the only theatre on the famed street with the moniker. While the venue has become a wonderful place to catch a musical or play, it began its life as a movie house designed by architect Eugene DeRosa. However, the structure's large open spaces, massive seating capacity (1,765) and ornate Italian Renaissance architecture made it destined for live theatrical performances. The sprawling lobby adds to the Broadway's unique charm, and guests enjoy comfortable restrooms, ample concessions and ease of traffic flow that has become the hallmark of the classic building.
The theatre, which opened up in 1924 as a movie house named B.S. Moss's Colony, first featured a number of domestic and foreign films. The theatre played a number of significant motion pictures such as Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willie" in 1928 and introduced Americans to Mickey Mouse. Disney's Fantasia also premiered at the performance hall in 1939. The theatre shifted between movies and live performances during the '30s and '40s, and the first musical held at the theatre was The New Yorkers in 1930, written by Cole Porter and Herber Fields. Unfortunately, the Great Depression was in full swing at that time and the production only lasted 20 weeks.
The Broadway Theatre has had a plethora of top talent take the stage. Some of the highlights include Irving Berling's This is the Army in 1942, which was hugely popular and benefited the Army Relief Fund. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita debuted in 1979 and the theatre hosted the opening of Les Miserables in 1987 before it moved to the Imperial Theatre four years later. Perhaps the Broadway's greatest success was the premiere of Miss Saigon, written by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boubil. It became one of the longest-running shows in New York history, with more than 4,000 performances enthralling audiences worldwide.
After its humble beginnings as a place to catch movies, the Broadway has evolved into one of the premiere destinations for theatregoers worldwide. The cavernous layout of the space lends itself well to big-budget musicals and large-scale productions without losing its old world charm. It will continue to be one of the most important landmarks in the New York theatre district and bring fabulous plays and musicals to captive audiences.