I hope you have been enjoying reading about my week in New York City with Melek last September. Today I want to tell you about our adventure at Times Square and what all I learned about Broadway.
Times Square is the entertainment epicenter of New York City and is called the “crossroads of the World”. While it is called a square it is actually shaped like a bow tie. Today Times Square is a bustling commercial area ablaze with lite up billboard signs and is a major tourist attraction, but that was not always the case.
In the early 1870’s the area had become the center of New York’s horse carriage industry and by the early 1890s this once sparsely settled stretch of Broadway was ablaze with electric light and crowds of middle- and upper-class theatre, restaurant and cafe patrons. In 1904 the New York Times moved it headquarters here, persuaded the city to build a subway stop, and named the entire area Times Square after itself (this is the building the New Years Eve ball drops from which started way back in 1907). Starting with the Great Depression Time Square became seedier and seedier until it hit bottom in the early 1980’s when there were over 2300 crimes a year on this one block.
Times Square is also the home of Broadway Theatre, which I found it interesting to learn a theatre had to be on Broadway and contain 500 seats or more to be considered Broadway and eligible for a Tony Award (there are 41 theatres). If a theatre is between 100-499 seats it is called Off-Broadway and under 100 seats is called Off-Off-Broadway.
You can get discounted tickets for many of the Broadway shows at the TKTS office under the large set of bleachers at W 47th St & Broadway. I was amazed at the cost of Broadway tickets and even though the TKTS office claims to sell them at 50% off or more this has been debated and most of the tickets were $60-120 (see live prices here).
Instead we chose to go directly to the Lyceum Theatre located at 149 West 45th Street and got tickets for The Play That Goes Wrong for $45 each. Built in 1903, the Lyceum Theatre is the third oldest surviving Broadway venues, is the oldest continuously operating legitimate theatre in New York City, and the first Broadway theatre ever to be granted landmark status (1974).
Given that we did not know anything about any of the plays being produced at the time it was hard to justify $75-120 a ticket and I am so glad that we went this route because The Play That Goes Wrong was so funny our sides were hurting by the end. What a great night!!!!!