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THE USA: Subject Guides

Dance and Theatre in America: Broadway

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The term 'Broadway' refers to 'Broadway Theatre' and its location in Manhattan, New York. This district hosts 40 prominent theatres, and is considered the American equivalent of London's 'West End'. Broadway lies between 41st and 53rd Street, and Sixth and Ninth Avenue. Basking the streets in fluorescent colours their neon signs and marquees advertising their shows, the theatre district may be the part of New York - the city which doesn't sleep - which shines brightest.


Like London, audiences are made up of locals, as well as tourists (from other parts of America and from overseas) who are in New York City, arguably the most well-known (American) city in the world. So actors and dancers can be performing to a diverse audience from around the world, as well as those from the States experiencing New York for work or pleasure.


Theatre and Hollywood

American theatre has close ties to Hollywood, with many productions going on to become big film adaptations. However, the same occurs the other way round, with successful films becoming dramas and musicals on stage too. And it's not just films which act as a source of inspiration for Broadway! Popular music, by bands as diverse as ABBA and Green Day, and comic books, like Spiderman, have spawned their own live shows too (though these can vary wildly in how well they do – some can last decades, while others just a year or less).


Many career opportunities

There are a lot of components which make up the final show. While the audience see the actors, dancers  and musicians on stage, there are as many, if not more, personnel working hard behind the scenes; these include choreographers, directors, wardrobe, props, sound, lighting and set design, without whom the show wouldn't feel as grand and spectacular. Meanwhile, there are those who write, cast, market and promote the show too. As you can see, there are numerous career opportunities for those who wish to work in theatre. Plus, if a production goes 'Off-Broadway' and tours large national theatres, those working on it can see the rest of the country for the first time (it is a common fact that in a country as large as America, a large portion do not even own a passport and remain in their own town/state for the duration of their entire lives).


What should you see?

But what should you go and see if you are in New York? Read our guide to find a perfect evening of entertainment next time you're in town...

Jersey Boys – The story of the rise of 60s pop band, The Four Seasons, from the “wrong side of the tracks”, to international stardom.

Rock of Ages – If you like your 80s music, like Journey, Bon Jovi and Poison, you’ve love this light-hearted affair, featuring plenty of spandex, hair bands and air-guitars for wannabe rock stars.

Chicago – If you relish a bit of murder and celebrity for your evening’s entertainment, Chicago will leave you tapping your toes and snapping your fingers.



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