10 Facts You Might Not Know About Broadway

Got tickets for a Broadway show or planning a trip to see one? Here are some things you might not know about the Great White Way.

  1. Seating capacity is everything. Broadway theaters have a seating capacity of 500 or more. A theater that seats less than 500 people is considered Off-Broadway.
  2. There are only four theaters that are actually on Broadway: The Marquis, The Palace, The Winter Garden and The Broadway.
  3. There is no Row l (L) in most Broadway theaters. The reason is simple. According to Playbill, the letter “l” is too easily confused with the number 1 by box office personnel and ushers. It also prevents people from mistakenly thinking they’re in row one.
  4. The 2016–2017 Broadway season was the third year in a row that attendance was more than 13 million theater goers. It was also the highest grossing season in Broadway history, at $1,449,321,564.64. If that number is too big to figure out, it’s more than $1.4 billion.
  5. The original awards given out at the Tony Awards were not statues. When the awards were founded in 1947, the award for men was a cigarette lighter and for women it was a compact.
  6. Speaking of Tony’s, the musical that received the most Tony nominations in one year — a whopping 16 of them — was Hamilton in 2016. The musical that actually won the most Tony awards (12) was Mel Brooks’ The Producers, which debuted in 2001.
  7. No actor named Tony has ever won a Tony.
  8. The term showstopper is common now, but it originated when a musical number would bring the crowd at a Broadway show to their feet, and the clapping and cheering would literally stop the show.
  9. The iconic movie The Wizard of Oz was originally a Broadway show. It opened at the Majestic Theatre on Jan. 21, 1903, and ran for 293 performances. The movie wasn’t made until 1939.
  10. The Booth Theatre was named in memory of the great classical Shakespearean actor, Edwin Booth. Edwin’s brother, John Wilkes Booth, was also an actor, but he became more famous for assassinating President Abraham Lincoln.
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