The Great White Way is a section of Broadway Avenue in New York City that is famous for housing a number of theaters. It is widely regarded as the home of live theater in the United States, much like Hollywood is the center of film and television production, and it is world famous. Visitors to New York City may opt to make time to attend one or more shows in one of the numerous theaters along the Great White Way and in the surrounding areas.
This stretch of Broadway runs from 42nd to 53rd Streets. There are actually relatively few theaters on Broadway itself, with the bulk being located on the streets immediately adjacent. Situated in Midtown Manhattan, the Great White Way is centrally located near a number of other attractions including museums and Times Square, a famous location and popular tourist destination in New York City.
The theater tradition in New York City dates back to the 1800s. Theatergoers in the United States were once a rowdy lot, interrupting performances and occasionally rioting if productions did not meet their taste. The theater district in New York City is particularly famous for its musicals, and the history of campy melodrama and musical productions in the United States is almost as old as the Great White Way itself. Events such as the Tony Awards that recognize noted performers are usually held in venues near the Great White Way, such as Radio City Music Hall.
Origins of the term “Great White Way” are usually attributed to the fact that this region of New York City was one of the first areas to be electrified, and numerous theaters used bright white marquee lights to advertise their productions and other events. The term is commonly credited to a review in a 1902 edition of the New York Evening Telegram, one of the many newspapers that thrived in New York around the turn of the 20th century.
Visitors to New York City can see a number of sites along the Great White Way during the day, and can visit theaters to arrange for tickets if they have not already booked tickets by phone or online. It is strongly recommended to make reservations for most productions in advance to ensure seats and to have an opportunity to get the best possible seats. Prices vary, depending on the theater and the production and sometimes travel agents can arrange special deals for their clients, as can some hotels.