One of New York City’s top tourist activities is taking in a show at a Broadway theater. The Broadway scene is renowned as the undisputed best in America, and in the world rivaled only by London’s West End in terms of English language theater. With so many stellar options on offer in one small area, it can seem impossible to pick just one show to see.
How Do You Choose a Show?
Manhattan’s Theater District has more than 40 large theaters, not counting the smaller so-called “off-Broadway” venues, with all of them holding performances every evening Tuesday through Saturday, plus Wednesday and weekend matinees. Some shows, such as “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Lion King”, have run continuously for decades, a definite sign of success. Others are revivals of older works that were hits in their day. For recommendations of newer shows, there are numerous online resources on all things Broadway, including in-depth Broadway play reviews by seasoned theater critics to help you decide if a certain show is worth the price of admission.
What Sorts of Shows Play on Broadway?
The predominant genre of a Broadway show is the musical. Musicals tell their stories through equal parts acting, singing and dancing. Unlike opera, musicals have a lot more spoken dialogue between songs, and the music itself is generally based on jazz or pop styles.
Besides musicals, conventional plays are another popular form of Broadway entertainment. Yes, those things from your school drama class are still being written and produced today, and while plays as an art form are much older than musicals, new productions are thoroughly modern in content. Contemporary playwrights such as David Mamet are known for their social commentary. Actors are often celebrities, both in Broadway theaters and on the big screen in Hollywood adaptations.
A third category of productions, especially off-Broadway, is neither plays nor musicals. These include one-person shows, experimental and miscellaneous acts such as Stomp and the Blue Man Group.
Going to a Broadway show is a theater lover’s dream. Read reviews ahead of time to make the most of your Broadway experience.