We’ve compiled a list of the most interesting and fascinating Broadway facts you probably didn’t know! Here they are:
Our Top 10 Broadway Facts
1. New York’s Broadway shows attract more than 13 million spectators annually
Just to put that into perspective: that’s more than Belgium’s entire population! 66% of the audience are females and 63% of the spectators are tourists. For some, it’s the main reason to travel to New York. We totally get it – seeing a show in New York’s famous theater district should be on everyone’s bucket list!
2. Broadway received its name from the Dutch
Before Broadway became the famous and glorious theater district we know today, the street used to be a trade route that was given its name during the Dutch settlement. In fact, the Dutch term “brede weg” literally translates to Broadway.
3. The longest running Broadway show is The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera has been on New York’s Broadway since 1988: During these more than 30 years the musicals was performed more than 13,000 times and the Phantom has changed 15 times.
Here you find the longest-running Broadway Shows in New York.
4. Broadway is New York City’s largest street
Broadway runs all the way from Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan up to the Bronx. Measuring 15 miles, it is New York City’s largest street. There’s more to it though: Broadway doesn’t stop in the Bronx. It continues north through New York State and terminates in Westchester County. The street has become a synonym for New York’s theater industry.
5. Only 4 theaters are actually located on Broadway
Did you know that even though there is a total of 41 Broadway theaters, only four of them are actually located on the street of Broadway? That’s because in order to qualify as a Broadway theater, two criteria must be met:
- It must be located between 40th and 54th St, between 6th to 8th Ave
- It must have at least 500 seats. Any theater with a capacity below 500 is considered off-broadway.
When it comes theater, Broadway is an area, rather than just a street.
Here you can find our complete guide to Broadway Theaters in New York (with current show, best seats and seat plans).
6. Most theaters omit the letter “I” in their seat rows
This is done to avoid confusion with row number 1. In the past, many people falsely claimed seats in the first row. To be frank though, row I (meaning row 9) would be the better choice of the two! You never want to be too close to the stage or you don’t get the full picture!
7. Lion King is the highest grossing production on Broadway ever
With more than $1 billion, The Lion King leads the list of highest grossing productions on Broadway. In 2014, it surpassed The Phantom of the Opera, which grossed $845 million.
8. Hamilton leads the list of most Tony Award nominations
Out of 26 Tony Award categories Hamilton was nominated for 16 – that’s more than any other single production since the first Tony Awards in 1947. At the end of the night, Hamilton took home 11 awards. Even with current ticket prices being out of this world, we agree that the hip-hop infused musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton is worth every penny.
9. Not all Broadway shows are dark on Mondays
Generally, shows take place 8 times a week, from Tuesday through Sunday + an additional matinee performance on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Therefore, we say that Broadway is “dark” on Mondays. However, there are some exceptions, namely Chicago and The Phantom of the Opera.
10. The Lyceum Theatre is the oldest operating Broadway theater
In 1903, one of the now oldest operating Broadway theaters was built: the Lyceum Theatre.