Most people are familiar with New York City’s infamous theatre district, Broadway. In fact, more people attend Broadway theatre attractions each year than they attend New York City’s sports attractions. Though, many are unfamiliar with the district’s history and how it came to be.
In 1811, New York City’s city planners began to put together the plans for a massive retail district that would reside between the 41st and 53rd Street and between the Sixth and Ninth Avenues. Thanks to the community, the retail district paved the way for a successful transition into theatre in the early 1900’s. It was not until the 1920’s and 1930’s that the theatre business truly began to pick up and start to dominate Broadway.
The community faced many troubles of its own in the early days. With the introduction of films that included sound brought major panic in the acting community. It was feared that now that people could attend the movies and now enjoy films that featured sound would take away from the theatre business. Many believed that the film industry would replace the theatre industry all together. Though much to all actors’ and actresses’ relief, the roaring twenties brought forth multiple extremely popular musicals. This helped keep the theatre community very much alive.
The community also faced financial troubles. With the Great Depression brought a dry spell in the theatre business; people just simply did not have the money to be spending for their leisure. Though after the troubling financial times subsided, the business quickly picked back up again. People enjoyed the theatre; it was becoming a tradition. Though still, there were small financial struggles that the community faced. After World War II, the Tony Awards were introduced in order to make the competition for a spot in a Broadway play more serious and coveted. They were also introduced with the intention of attracting a broader audience of people. This helped bring more money into the business.
Broadway has now developed into a world-renowned art and theatre destination. It is now considered one of the most, if not the most, coveted places for an actor or actress to practice their professions. It attracts millions of viewers each and every year, and continues to serve as another great historic attribute of New York City. In fact, the popularity of the community is ever-growing. According to Wikipedia, Broadway shows sold a record $1.36 billion worth of tickets in 2014.
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