Preserving History . . . Broadway Style!

When you think of all the areas for which New York is famous, there are two that spring to mind. Broadway and Museums. But surprisingly there is not any crossover between these two specialities. There isn’t a museum about the long and detailed history of Broadway. Until now, that is!

1 - Spotlight map

In an effort to preserve the history of live performance in New York, the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in conjunction with The Broadway League have created Spotlight on Broadway.

It’s not a museum in the traditional sense. It is a website that features a wide range of videos and information about the famous theatre district. There are videos on the development of each of the forty theatres. There are pictures of each theatre’s architectural marvels. And there is information on the wide variety of professions paramount to launching a Broadway show.

To make this exciting website even more interesting, the videos contain interviews with a wide variety of theatre architects, producers and famous performers. They feature everyone from Angela Lansbury and Joel Grey to Kristin Chenoweth and Whoopi Goldberg and are narrated by a number of famous voices including David Hyde Pierce and Audra McDonald.

And there is a reason why this new addition to New York’s extensive collection of museums should be online. The users.

Who would you think is the main user for this website?

This is what I surmise. Someone who is looking to learn a bit more about New York Theatre because they are most likely going to see a Broadway show in the near future.

So why not build a physical museum? Because approximately 63% of the Broadway audiences are tourists. People who would not be able to gain access to this rich collection of resources until they stepped foot in New York, by which point it is a bit late unless they plan on spending all day in the TKTS queue for discount tickets. Or by the time they actually got to a physical Broadway museum they may have already seen their show for that trip!

The website also plays an important part in increasing consumers’ understanding of the Broadway medium. High ticket prices are always a complaint of any live entertainment audience. From Broadway to arena shows, the ticket prices are always too expensive.

By providing consumers with an understanding of the huge number of people involved in the show creation process, the ticket price begins to become justified. Of course this won’t stop people shopping around for deals online or lining up at the TKTS vendor, but it provides some justification for the payment if consumers need to pay full price. (Plus, unlike most museums, this website is FREE!).spotlight on broadway times square map

And finally, in an effort to tie-in the online information source with the real experience, the same map that visitors are greeted with on the front page of the website has been transplanted into the middle of Times Square.

If you have any interest in the Broadway district or theatre history in general – or just want to watch clips from shows throughout theatre history – visit the Spotlight on Broadway website. It will only enhance your next visit to the theatre!