The Museum of Broadway, Saluting the Artistry and History of New York Theater, Opens in the Heart of the Theatre District.
By: Ellis Nassour
November 17, 2022 – A museum dedicated to the history of Broadway theater, New York City’s Number One industry, has been talked about, even planned again and again, but never materialized. Finally, it has come to be. The Museum of Broadway has officially opened in the heart of the Theatre District at 145 West 45th Street, between Broadway/Seventh Avenue and Sixth Avenue. It joins the American Theater Hall of Fame, housed in the Gershwin Theatre, to become the first permanent entity dedicated to the storied history and legendary artistry of Broadway theater and Broadway theatres.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, recognizing the importance to Broadway theater to the city, was joined at the ribbon-cutting by Museum co-founders Julie Boardman and Diane Nicoletti and, among numerous city officials and industry luminaries, Anne del Castillo of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
Boardman is a two-time Tony winning producer and Nicoletti is founder of Rubik Marketing Agency. The Museum is an immersive experience featuring the work of dozens of designers, artists, and theatre historians presented in a massive time line from the birth of New York theater along 14thStreet and the segue up, up, up town to legendary Times Square, where present day joins the past in a glittering array of costumes, props, music, and artifacts.
The Museum celebrates will feature numerous themed exhibits. The first, The Making of a Broadway Show, is joined by The American Theatre as seen by Hirschfeld, which follows the one-of-a-kind work of artist Al Hirschfeld through nine decades and 25 caricatures from 1928 to 2002. You will even be able to sit in a replica of his barber chair, where he finished the sketches he did more often than not during live performances.
Years in the making, visitors will see memorabilia, portraits and photos of the artists who brought theater to life, production highlights, a gallery of seasons and seasons and seasons of Playbill, theatrical tableaus, production stills, and to top it all off, of course, an incredible gift shop.
A definite highlight of any visit are the scenic designs and costumes featured in classic shows, as well as tributes to 500 productions from the 1700s through the present – shows such as Beauty and the Beast, Carousel, Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, Follies, Grease Funny Girl, Gypsy, Hello Dolly!, The King and I, The Lion King, Oklahoma!, The Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, Sunday in the Park with George, West Side, Story, Wicked, and gillions more.
Visitors also will learn about shows that transformed the landscape of Broadway – the moments in shows such as Show Boat, South Pacific, Parade, Rent, and A Raisin in the Sun that pushed creative boundaries and challenged social norms.
The team of expert curators for the Museum is headed by Ben West, resident historian and Timeline Walls curator), John Kenrick, Michael McDonald, Matthew Schneider, Jennifer Ashley Tepper, Faye Armon-Troncoso, and Lisa Zinni.
The Museum of Broadway is founded in collaboration with Playbill, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Goodspeed Musicals, Creative Goods, and Concord Theatricals. The co-producers are a roster of the Who’s Who in theater.
Timed tickets for the Museum of Broadway start at $39 [with a portion of every admission donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS] can be purchased at www.themuseumofbroadway.com/tickets. For more information on the Museum of Broadway, visit: https://www.themuseumofbroadway.com and follow @museumofbroadway on social media.