The Museum of Broadway

The Museum of Broadway

On a recent New York pilgrimage, Peter Eyers enjoyed the Big Apple’s newest immersive museum. 


Like any intrepid historian deep diving into an archaeological dig, New York’s Museum of Broadway rewards the avid theatre fan substantially.


Magnificently curated, and designed with the most impressive detail and care, this essential addition to the Times Square theatre district charts the conception, development and triumph of Broadway, celebrating the stars and creatives, along with iconic and seminal theatre works.


Consume the content at your leisure, walking a timeline from the first documented performance in New York, The Recruiting Officer (1732), through to the triumph of the musical Six. Along the way, iconic cast recordings are pumped into each new room, as displays showcase a broad repertoire of seminal musicals including Oklahoma!, Cabaret, Hair and The Phantom of the Opera, along with plays from Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams and Neil Simon.


Perhaps most fascinating is the array of original costumes, props and set models, instantly recognisable from their ‘brand’ productions. The gold sequined costumes from A Chorus Line have been made with such artistry and ‘magic’ - no wonder they made such an impact in that legendary finale.


The collection’s ‘jewels’ include Patti LuPone’s Evita wig, a West Side Story Jets jacket, Avenue Q puppets, an arm cast from Dear Evan Hansen, Ben Vereen’s boater hat from Pippin and, most movingly, the first Broadway AIDS quilt featuring shows from the late 80s. And what could surpass that little red dress from Annie? Mere baubles to the un-initiated, but sparkling gems to the theatre fan.


There really is ‘no business like show business’! A forensic investigation of what it takes to put on a show from conception to opening night features profiles of every production department and artisan.


When next in New York, the Museum of Broadway demands essential visitation from all devotees of the stages, stars and shows that have contributed the “hip hooray and ballyhoo” of the Great White Way.


Founded in collaboration with Playbill, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Billy Rose Theatre Division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Goodspeed Musicals, Creative Goods and Concord Theatricals, the Museum of Broadway is located at 145 West 45th Street, right next to the Lyceum Theatre.


Article courtesy of Stages with Peter Eyers.