Broadway (67)

This avenue is the most important in all of New York, near Fifth Avenue, and is also one of the most expensive. Beginning in the historic Bowling Green, it crosses Wall Street, the City Hall, Times Square, touches a corner of Central Park and then continues to the Bronx.

With its 33 kilometres, Broadway crosses Manhattan from north to south, is the only avenue on the entire island that has curves and is the oldest, as it follows the trail of an ancient route of the American Indians who took through its forests and hills. Later, at the beginning of this road the Dutch built Fort Amsterdam, and decided to extend its route to the north and name it the "Breede Wegh" or the wide road, which was later changed to Broadway, in English.

But although Broadway is renowned worldwide for its shows, because it contains 39 of the largest and most important theatres in New York, in fact only six are on the avenue; the others are a block or two away from it. Specifically, between 41st and 53rd Streets, near Times Square, is where the blockbuster works are to be found. This is the Theater District.

Many theatres are as interesting for their programming as for their history. In the St James for example, a young Lauren Bacall worked as an usher.

And New York, along with London, is the world capital of theatre and, more specifically, of musicals. Of course, your visit will not be complete if you do not see one of these works. Perhaps a show by Cole Porter or Bob Fosse? Note that these works each year attract no more and no fewer than 12 million people; which is a record.

Not surprisingly, in these rooms Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Angela Lansbury, Whoopi Goldberg and Hugh Jackman rose to fame. And making it on Broadway is among the dreams of any performance artist. For example, Barbra Streisand became a star by appearing in the musical Funny Girl in 1964, and from there went on to win a Tony Award and an Oscar for the film version.

And speaking of success, in this area you will also find schools of interpretation, singing, dancing and scenery of international prestige. These are where the seeds of Showbiz are sown. 

One of the most famous schools is just four blocks from Times Square. It is the Actors Studio, located at 432 West 44th Street, which introduced the famous Stanislawski method, renowned for identifying the actor with the character. Celebrities including Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson have studied here.

A final recommendation. If you have not purchased tickets for any work in advance, stop by Tkts in Times Square where you can buy tickets for plays of the day with incredible discounts of up to 50% or more. You have to queue, but it is worth it. 

Just one more thing before choosing a show: not all of them are performed in a Broadway stage. Some are held in Off-Broadway. And it is here where there are 50 theatres in New York that are not around Broadway. And on top of this, others are held in Off-Off Broadway; which includes another 200 theatres spread throughout the city; theatres with smaller budgets and that often offer cutting-edge, controversial and less commercial works. In fact some of Broadway's biggest hits have been released in the Off. One of the most acclaimed is the Manhattan Theatre Club. But certainly the smaller the theatre the more risqué the production. 

Now you know: musicals, drama, performance... Do not forget to consult the billboard because your favourite movie actor or actress of your favourite series may show here tonight on Broadway.

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