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First Date The Musical - The One (Track 1)
Early theatre in New York[ edit ] Interior of the Park Theatre , built in New York did not have a significant theatre presence until about , when actor-managers Walter Murray and Thomas Kean established a resident theatre company at the Theatre on Nassau Street , which held about people. They presented Shakespeare plays and ballad operas such as The Beggar's Opera. The company moved to New York in the summer of , performing ballad operas and ballad-farces like Damon and Phillida. By the s, P. Barnum was operating an entertainment complex in lower Manhattan. The 3,seat theatre presented all sorts of musical and non-musical entertainments. In , Palmo's Opera House opened and presented opera for only four seasons before bankruptcy led to its rebranding as a venue for plays under the name Burton's Theatre. The Astor Opera House opened in A riot broke out in when the lower-class patrons of the Bowery objected to what they perceived as snobbery by the upper class audiences at Astor Place: Booth played the role for a famous consecutive performances at the Winter Garden Theatre in with the run ending just a few months before Booth's brother John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln , and would later revive the role at his own Booth's Theatre which was managed for a time by his brother Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. Birth of the musical and post-Civil War[ edit ] Theatre in New York moved from downtown gradually to midtown beginning around , seeking less expensive real estate. In the beginning of the 19th century, the area that now comprises the Theater District was owned by a handful of families and comprised a few farms. In , Mayor Cornelius Lawrence opened 42nd Street and invited Manhattanites to "enjoy the pure clean air. In , the heart of Broadway was in Union Square , and by the end of the century, many theatres were near Madison Square. Theatres did not arrive in the Times Square area until the early s, and the Broadway theatres did not consolidate there until a large number of theatres were built around the square in the s and s. New York runs continued to lag far behind those in London,  but Laura Keene 's "musical burletta" The Seven Sisters shattered previous New York records with a run of performances. The Black Crook , considered by some historians to be the first musical. The first theatre piece that conforms to the modern conception of a musical, adding dance and original music that helped to tell the story, is considered to be The Black Crook , which premiered in New York on September 12, The production was a staggering five-and-a-half hours long, but despite its length, it ran for a record-breaking performances. These musical comedies featured characters and situations taken from the everyday life of New York's lower classes and represented a significant step forward from vaudeville and burlesque, towards a more literate form. They starred high quality singers Lillian Russell , Vivienne Segal , and Fay Templeton , instead of the women of questionable repute who had starred in earlier musical forms. As transportation improved, poverty in New York diminished, and street lighting made for safer travel at night, the number of potential patrons for the growing number of theatres increased enormously. Plays could run longer and still draw in the audiences, leading to better profits and improved production values. As in England, during the latter half of the century, the theatre began to be cleaned up, with less prostitution hindering the attendance of the theatre by women. Gilbert and Sullivan 's family-friendly comic opera hits, beginning with H. Pinafore in , were imported to New York by the authors and also in numerous unlicensed productions. This would not be surpassed until Irene in In , theatre owners Marc Klaw and A. Erlanger formed the Theatrical Syndicate , which controlled almost every legitimate theatre in the US. A Trip to Coontown was the first musical comedy entirely produced and performed by African Americans in a Broadway theatre largely inspired by the routines of the minstrel shows , followed by the ragtime -tinged Clorindy: The Origin of the Cakewalk , and the highly successful In Dahomey Still, New York runs continued to be relatively short, with a few exceptions, compared with London runs, until World War I. Wodehouse , Guy Bolton , and Harry B. Victor Herbert , whose work included some intimate musical plays with modern settings as well as his string of famous operettas The Fortune Teller , Babes in Toyland , Mlle. Since colored bulbs burned out too quickly, white lights were used, and Broadway was nicknamed "The Great White Way". In August , the Actors' Equity Association demanded a standard contract for all professional productions. After a strike shut down all the theatres, the producers were forced to agree. By the s, the Shubert Brothers had risen to take over the majority of the theatres from the Erlanger syndicate. From then, it would go on to become the first show to reach 1, performances. Lightnin' was the longest-running Broadway show until being overtaken in performance totals by Abie's Irish Rose in Competing with motion pictures[ edit ] Broadway north from 38th St. All but the Winter Garden are demolished. The motion picture mounted a challenge to the stage. At first, films were silent and presented only limited competition. By the end of the s, films like The Jazz Singer were presented with synchronized sound, and critics wondered if the cinema would replace live theatre altogether. While live vaudeville could not compete with these inexpensive films that featured vaudeville stars and major comedians of the day, other theatre survived. The musicals of the Roaring Twenties , borrowing from vaudeville, music hall and other light entertainments, tended to ignore plot in favor of emphasizing star actors and actresses, big dance routines, and popular songs. Florenz Ziegfeld produced annual spectacular song-and-dance revues on Broadway featuring extravagant sets and elaborate costumes, but there was little to tie the various numbers together. Clearly, the live theatre survived the invention of cinema. Between the wars[ edit ] Leaving these comparatively frivolous entertainments behind, and taking the drama a giant step forward, Show Boat , premiered on December 27, , at the Ziegfeld Theatre , representing a complete integration of book and score, with dramatic themes, as told through the music, dialogue, setting and movement, woven together more seamlessly than in previous musicals. It ran for performances. Kaufman and Moss Hart. According to John Kenrick writing of Broadway musicals, "Every season saw new stage musicals send songs to the top of the charts. Public demand, a booming economy and abundant creative talent kept Broadway hopping. To this day, the shows of the s form the core of the musical theatre repertory. The changes would prove painful for many—including those behind the scenes, as well as those in the audience. The Save the Theatres campaign then turned their efforts to supporting establishment of the Theater District as a registered historic district. This makes for an eight-performance week. On this schedule, most shows do not play on Monday and the shows and theatres are said to be "dark" on that day. The Tony award presentation ceremony is usually held on a Sunday evening in June to fit this schedule. In recent years, some shows have moved their Tuesday show time an hour earlier to 7: The earlier curtain makes it possible for suburban patrons to get home by a reasonable hour after the show. Some shows, especially those produced by Disney , change their performance schedules fairly frequently depending on the season. This is done in order to maximize access to their target audience. Producers and theatre owners[ edit ] Most Broadway producers and theatre owners are members of The Broadway League formerly "The League of American Theatres and Producers" , a trade organization that promotes Broadway theatre as a whole, negotiates contracts with the various theatrical unions and agreements with the guilds, and co-administers the Tony Awards with the American Theatre Wing , a service organization. While the League and the theatrical unions are sometimes at loggerheads during those periods when new contracts are being negotiated, they also cooperate on many projects and events designed to promote professional theatre in New York. Of the four non-profit theatre companies with Broadway theatres, three Lincoln Center Theater , Manhattan Theatre Club , and Roundabout Theatre Company belong to the League of Resident Theatres and have contracts with the theatrical unions which are negotiated separately from the other Broadway theatre and producers. Disney also negotiates apart from the League, as did Livent before it closed down its operations. However, generally, shows that play in any of the Broadway houses are eligible for Tony Awards see below. The majority of Broadway theatres are owned or managed by three organizations: Personnel[ edit ] Both musicals and stage plays on Broadway often rely on casting well-known performers in leading roles to draw larger audiences or bring in new audience members to the theatre. Actors from movies and television are frequently cast for the revivals of Broadway shows or are used to replace actors leaving a cast. There are still, however, performers who are primarily stage actors, spending most of their time "on the boards", and appearing in television and in screen roles only secondarily. Broadway once had many homegrown stars who committed to working on a show for a year, as Nathan Lane has for The Addams Family. In , some theater heavyweights like Mr. Lane were not even nominated; instead, several Tony Awards were given for productions that were always intended to be short-timers on Broadway, given that many of their film-star performers had to move on to other commitments. Time was that a producer would require a minimum commitment from his star of six months, and perhaps a year; now, the week run is the norm. For example, the agreement specifies the minimum size of the orchestra at the Minskoff Theatre to be 18, at the Music Box Theatre to be 9. List of the longest-running Broadway shows Most Broadway shows are commercial productions intended to make a profit for the producers and investors "backers" or "angels" , and therefore have open-ended runs duration that the production plays , meaning that the length of their presentation is not set beforehand, but depends on critical response, word of mouth, and the effectiveness of the show's advertising, all of which determine ticket sales. Investing in a commercial production carries a varied degree of financial risk. Shows do not necessarily have to make a profit immediately. If they are making their "nut" weekly operating expenses , or are losing money at a rate which the producers consider acceptable, they may continue to run in the expectation that, eventually, they will pay back their initial costs and become profitable. In some borderline situations, producers may ask that royalties be temporarily reduced or waived, or even that performers—with the permission of their unions—take reduced salaries, in order to prevent a show from closing. Theatre owners, who are not generally profit participants in most productions, may waive or reduce rents, or even lend a show money in order to keep it running. Some Broadway shows are produced by non-commercial organizations as part of a regular subscription season— Lincoln Center Theatre , Roundabout Theatre Company , Manhattan Theatre Club , and Second Stage Theater are the four non-profit theatre companies that currently have permanent Broadway venues. Some other productions are produced on Broadway with "limited engagement runs" for a number of reasons, including financial issues, prior engagements of the performers or temporary availability of a theatre between the end of one production and the beginning of another. However, some shows with planned limited engagement runs may, after critical acclaim or box office success, extend their engagements or convert to open-ended runs. This was the case with 's August: Osage County , 's God of Carnage , and 's Newsies. Historically, musicals on Broadway tend to have longer runs than "straight" i. On January 9, , The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre became the longest running Broadway musical, with 7, performances, overtaking Cats. Many Broadway theatres also offer special student rates, same-day "rush" or "lottery" tickets, or standing-room tickets to help ensure that their theatres are as full, and their "grosses" as high as possible. To be eligible for a Tony, a production must be in a house with seats or more and in the Theater District, which criteria define Broadway theatre. Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows often provide a more experimental, challenging and intimate performance than is possible in the larger Broadway theatres. After, or even during, successful runs in Broadway theatres, producers often remount their productions with new casts and crew for the Broadway national tour, which travels to theatres in major cities across the country. Sometimes when a show closes on Broadway, the entire production, with most if not all of the original cast intact, is relaunched as a touring company, hence the name "Broadway national tour". Some shows may even have several touring companies out at a time, whether the show is still running in New York or not, with many companies "sitting down" in other major cities for their own extended runs. Smaller cities may attract national touring companies, but for shorter periods of time. Or they may even be serviced by "bus and truck" tours.
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