Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway enough venues to keep lovers of live theatre happy forever! Almost everyone who visits New York has the desire to see a show or two while they're in town. There's nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Not even London offers the breadth, depth and as many alternatives as Broadway, New York City.
Most theatres are in Times Square, huddled around the thoroughfare the scene is named for, but not directly on it. They are dotted in the side streets that intersect Broadway, between the mid-40s between 6th and 8th Avenues, particularly 44th and 45th Streets and running as far north as 53rd.
The terms Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway refer not to the location, but to the size of the theatre, pay scales and other details.
Big production long-running shows such as The Lion King, The Producers, the longest ever, Cats, and thousands before them, attract large audiences, but Broadway is not just about the general crowd-pleasers these days. Today's scene is thriving, with smaller alternative theatre extremely popular. With bankable stars, crowds line up for hot tickets and most shows have the inevitable money-making spin-off album.
A new wave of shows and their stars has given Broadway a shot in the arm. Actors who are usually seen on the large or small screen are heading to Broadway to get a taste of strutting their craft live. There are 29 there this year. Just a few who would be wonderful to put on your list are: Kathleen Turner in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf; Maureen McGovern n the musical version of Little Women; Natasha Richardson in A Streetcar Named Desire; Steel Magnolias with Delta Burke and Marsha Mason; On Golden Pond with James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams; John Lithgow in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; The Glass Menagerie with Jessica Lange and Christian Slater; David Hyde Pierce in Month Python's Spamalot and Alan Alda in the classic Glenncarry Glen Ross.
If you're on a budget and want to see more shows than you can really afford, TKTS at Duffy Square and the South Street Seaport sell day-of-show tickets offering discounts of 25 percent, 35 percent and 50 percent. Queues can be quite long. Musicals are most popular and supplies vary throughout the day but, if you can afford the time, it's worth the wait.
There's no Broadway Museum, but an excellent and inexpensive way of finding out about the area is to take a Walkin' Broadway tour. The brainchild of Elliott Forrest, it gives information about history, architecture, music and theatres. More than 40 voices and music from 60 soundtracks accompany you on the hour-long tour. The South Tour takes in 42nd to 46th Streets and the North Tour 46th to 52nd Streets.