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New York City’s Broadway Theater District

I breathe. The air surrounds me. The artistry and history are almost tangible. I step lighter. The dance not displayed by my feet is alive in my heart. This is Broadway. It’s New York City, baby. Who could ask for more?

The Broadway Theater District is so much more than what happens on the stage.  These streets were the heart of the Manhattan in its infancy and grew as the city grew. Now, Manhattan is not Manhattan without vivid images of the live entertainment performances that have become famous worldwide.

Here are some of the theaters that I recommend in the Broadway Theater district.

Winter Garden Theater

Originally built in 1896, this theater at 1634 Broadway is between 50th and 51st Street. The original structure was not a theater, but the many building renovations have restored it to the style of live-performance venues of the 1920’s.

I highly recommend to pre-purchase theater tickets before arriving at the theater. Your travel agent or any number of online ticketing sites can provide show schedules and seat selections. Upon arrival at the theater, we had our seat assignments in hand while others did the multi-line shuffle dance in search of admission tickets to this popular show. The first row of the balcony afforded an excellent view.

This is a high-energy performance that you won’t want to miss. Our neighbors to the right were three ladies on holiday from Australia. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Soon the balcony patrons were out of our seats and dancing right along with the show performance. The ABBA songs just make for a fun experience, and we left the performance in a happy mood and still humming along.

Broadway Lyric Theatre

The original Lyric Theater was constructed in 1903. If walls could talk, what a tale these could tell!  From city triumphs to disasters, this elegant building wears the proud marks of a survivor. Today’s Lyric Theatre on Broadway is the culmination of the many names of the past including Foxwoods Theatre, Hilton Theatre and the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The adjacent building housed the Apollo Theater.

Due to extensive renovations, the current Lyric Theatre is one of the largest performance halls on Broadway. Features and artifacts of both the Lyric and Apollo are incorporated into the 1990’s updated design. I prefer the 43rd Street entry to enjoy the Renaissance Revival architecture styles. This bold facade displays tiers of windows and ornamentations reflecting the early 1900’s original construction of both original buildings.

How fitting that this was the venue where I attended the 42nd Street theater performance. I believe this was in the summer of  2002 because that was the season that Tom Wopat (Luke Duke from “Dukes of Hazzard”) was right there on the stage of 42nd Street, wowing the audience.

Majestic Theater

In 2012, we attended Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre. This hauntingly beautiful story tells a tale of love and destruction. Immensely popular, this theater production is estimated to have reached more than 140 million people, with numerous awards and recognition.

The Phantom of the Opera became Broadway’s longest-running show in 2006. The performance features a crashing chandelier which is a replica of the Paris Opera House chandelier. Even knowing that the crash was about to occur, I was startled by the drama and the stage effects. For the stage production, there are 6,000 beads in the chandelier which weighs one ton (2,000 pounds).

Broadway shows have been central to my New York City experience.  The staging, the production, the details of the costuming….all have a place in making the shows spectacular.

I love acting. It is so much more real than life.” ~Oscar Wilde

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