Broadway Musical

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The symbol of broadway

Broadway is the street in NY which has come to symbolize live theater entertainment and musicals across the world. Today the area, known to tourists and theater-goers, stretches from W.41st Street, where the Netherlander Theater is found, up to W. 53rd Street's Broadway Theater. Only 4 theaters are found physically on Broadway, the Marquis at 46th Street, the Palace at 47th Street, the Winter Garden at 50th Street and the Broadway at 53rd. All the other legit houses are found west or east of this 12 block stretch.


The stars of Broadway

By the 1830's America was exporting stars to Europe. The first notable Yank actor to make a successful tour was Edwin Forrest, who at nineteen, had played Iago to Edmond Kean's Othello. Forrest's 2nd tour of the United Kingdom, in the following decade didn't fare also. He was booed off stage. Though the disruption of his tour was a personal feud with a British actor, its results were well publicized in the american Press and his return to the american stage was received with populist fervor. This'personal feud' became an international incident and demonstration of class struggle in 1849, when the British actor in question was booked to perform at the Astor Place Opera House in new york. A riot ensued on the night of May 10th which was put down with troops and cannon.


Broadways first marquis.

In 1891, the 1st electric marquis was lit on Broadway. The theater was on Madison Square at the crossing of Broadway and fifth Avenue at W. 23rd Street. The Flatiron Building now occupies the site. By half way thru the following decade, the street blazed with electric signs as each theater announced its shows and stars in white lights. By the turn of the 20th Century the street had a wholly different look, with as much as sixteen theaters on Broadway itself and many others located on the side streets or other avenues. Broadway was more than a trifling twelve blocks. It started at 13th Street and wound its way a mile and a half up the Avenue to 45th Street, ending in the heart of Long acre Square. This first decade of the century also saw the development of many theaters, most notably the New Amsterdam on 42nd Street in 1903, together with 4 others in that very same year, that are still standing today.

Our Broadway.

the first decade of the 20 th Century was both uninteresting and transformational in the history of our Broadway Musicals. The seeds of that change go back to 1882, and the construction of The Madison Square Theater at 24th Street. The Mallory's, who had built the theater, had employed a young actor-manager from San Francisco along with two brothers from the lower Eastside to help manage the theater. David Belasco, who had the distinction of appearing on stage with another unknown child, Maude Adams, in San Francisco in 1877, was shortly to become a playwriter, theater owner and builder. The 2 brothers from the lower Eastside were, naturally, Charles and Daniel Frohman. The first sign of the transformation occurred when producer Rudolf Aronson made a decision to build a theatre of his very own. At the time, theatres were concentrated between Union Square and 24th Street.


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