Broadway is a Brand of Excellence
Broadway is the name given to the 40 or so major theatrical shows running in designated theatres on or near the ‘Street of dreams‘, the ‘great white way‘ within the ‘city of angels‘, the core of the ‘big apple‘, which was also my home and office in Times Square since 1995.
Often abbreviated to ‘BWAY‘, it’s often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. Be it theatre (or theater), or a show, ‘Broadway’ refers to a performance (usually a play or musical) staged in one of the larger professional theatres located in New York City, with 500 seats or more, that appeal to the mass audience. Along with London’s West End, Broadway is considered of the highest quality.
While the term “Broadway” comes from the street of the same name, not all theatres are located on this street. The majority of BWAY theatres are located in the area called Midtown, in and around Times Square. Broadway theatres are usually run by a producing organization (e.g., Shubert, Disney, et cetera), or another theatre group (e.g., Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center Theater, et cetera).
Further, a new class of show called “Touring Broadway” refers to Broadway shows that have played in or will play in Broadway theatres across North America (USA and Canada). Each major city has one large “Broadway Class” theatre, and when presenting a Broadway touring production, this show, and the city in which it plays become part of “Touring Broadway”.
All Broadway shows are professionally produced and adhere to strict contracts for all artists involved (e.g., performers, directors, musicians, playwrights, stage managers, etcetera). Artistic trade unions such as Actors’ Equity, commonly known simply as “Equity,” International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, commonly known simply as “IATSE”, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, commonly known simply as “SSDC” and the Musicians Union commonly known simply as “Local 1”, and many others for press agents, ushers and other workers, bargain for contracts guaranteeing minimum wages and other rights involved with the rehearsal and production process. On rare occasions, disputes over contracts can result in a group of artists going on strike. In 2003, musicians in the orchestra pit of Broadway musicals went on strike to protest producers plans to replace them with “virtual orchestras.”
Broadway shows may run for a varying number of weeks, depending on ticket sales. Musicals tend to have longer runs than do stage plays.
In addition to long runs in Broadway theatres, producers often copy the production with a new cast and crew for the Broadway Tour, which travels to theatres across the country. Both musicals and stage plays on Broadway and in their respective tours 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 premieres of BWAY shows or are used to replace actors leaving a cast. Many performers, however, are still primarily “stage” actors, who spend more time on the stages of New York and will appear in television and screen roles as a secondary venue.
Broadway shows and artists are honored every June when the Antoinette Perry Awards (Tony Awards or ‘Tony’s’) are given by the American Theatre Wing. The ‘Tony’ is Broadway’s highest theatre award. The importance of these awards has increased since their annual broadcast on television began. Celebrities are often chosen to host the show, like Hugh Jackman and Rosie O’Donnell, in addition to celebrity presenters. While some critics have felt that the show should focus on celebrating the stage, many others recognize the positive impact that famous faces lend to selling more tickets and bringing more people to the theatre. The performances from musicals on the telecast have also been cited as vital to the survival of many shows.
Seeing a Broadway show is a common tourist activity in New York and a business that generates billions of dollars annually. The TKTS booth in Duffy Square, at Broadway & 47th Street, sells half-price tickets for same-day tickets for many Broadway and still professional Off-Broadway shows. This service helps sell empty seats and makes seeing a show in New York more affordable. Many Broadway theatres also offer special student rates, same-day “rush” tickets, or standing-room tickets to help ensure that more people have the opportunity to see Broadways shows.
Some theatregoers prefer the more experimental, challenging, and intimate performances possible in smaller theatres, which are referred to as Off-BWAY and Off-Off-Broadway (though some may be physically located on or near Broadway). The classification of theatres is governed by language in Actors’ Equity contracts. To be eligible for a Tony, a production must be in a house with 500 seats or more, which pretty much defines the Broadway Theatre. Some theatres (by adding or subtracting seats) can convert from Off-Broadway to Broadway and vice versa.
百老汇 是什么？(What is “Broadway“?)
百老汇戏剧和演员每年六月会进行评奖，由美国戏剧协会给获奖戏剧和演员颁发托尼奖。托尼是百老汇最高级别的戏剧奖。这些奖项的重要性自从开始每年电视直播之后与日俱增。 名人经常被邀请来主持颁奖晚会，比如休•杰克曼和罗斯奥•汤尼尔（Rosie O’Donnell），此外还有名人颁奖嘉宾。虽然一些评论人士认为演出应该以舞台艺术为重点，但是其他许多人则认为名人效应会提高票房而且吸引更多观众进入剧场。百老汇音乐剧的电视转播也被认为对许多百老汇戏剧的继续存在起到了关键作用。