Broadway

Definition

Theater

  • A term for New York's commercial theater, equivalent to theWest End when referring to London theater. The name comesfrom the street that runs through the heart of Manhattan and has beenapplied to theaters clustering in side streets from West 44th to 50thstreets. All mainstream theater in New York, however, is describedas being 'on Broadway'.

    Broadway first became synonymous with theater in the 1850s.When extravagant lighting was introduced some 40 years later it acquiredthe nickname the Great White Way. The district had around80 theaters when at the height of its prestige in the 1920s. Morerecently it has specialized in large musicals or small comedies followingthe decline of serious drama and the advent of competition from off-Broadwayand off-off-Broadway. In all, New York now has some 400 theaters.

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