As the song goes, “They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway.” But even after dark you won’t be hard-pressed to find The Museum of Broadway. Located in the heart of the theater district at 145 West 45th, it’s a stone’s throw from the blinding lights of Times Square and sitting in the perfect spot for a venue focused on the New York theater. Poised to make a splash this summer with the throngs of tourists once again descending (thankfully) upon the Big Apple, this new museum is ready to take a bow.
Exactly what is it? The Museum of Broadway is an interactive theatrical experience devoted to musicals, plays, and the people who create them. With 26,000 sq feet of Times Square real estate, the one-of-a-kind museum features the work of dozens of designers, artists, and theatre historians. Following a timeline of Broadway, from its inception to the present day, this is where the past, present, and future come together in a synchronized visualization of “show biz” history in New York.
The Back Story of Broadway
The back story of Broadway is highlighted in groundbreaking moments through a series of exhibits showcasing spectacular costumes, props, renderings, rare photos, videos, and more. Along the way, visitors learn about some of the pivotal shows that transformed the landscape of Broadway – moments that pushed creative boundaries, challenged social norms, and paved the way for those who would follow.
Immersive experiences featuring The Phantom of The Opera, The Lion King, HAIR, The Ziegfeld Follies, Showboat, Oklahoma!, The Wiz, and Rent, are compelling as well as entertaining. Overall, the museum highlights more than 500 individual productions from the 1700s through today. A fully integrated presentation is laid out in four parts on three floors. Choose the stairwell rather than the elevator to reach the top floor “curtain up” on the spectacle. As you ascend, view backstage cameos of some of your favorite shows on the walls.
Special Exhibits at The Museum of Broadway
The museum also features a selection of special exhibits, the first being The American Theatre as seen by Al Hirschfeld, the well-known New York Times caricaturist of show business personalities. Created exclusively for the Museum of Broadway, it takes visitors through nine decades of the artist’s iconic theatrical images with twenty-five drawings and prints from 1928 to 2002. Visitors come face to face with the original productions of Fiddler on the Roof, The Phantom of the Opera, The King and I, Sunday in the Park with George, Funny Girl, Ragtime, Beauty and the Beast, and Hairspray.
Sit in a replica of Hirschfeld’s barber chair where he drew all the finished drawings in his career. And view a selection of sketchbooks that he used to record his impressions of shows in out-of-town tryouts and previews. See signed portraits of Meryl Streep, Julie Andrews, and Liza Minnelli on display. And, create a Hirschfeld portrait of yourself with a new app.
Celebrating Behind the Scenes
Wondering how a show gets made from scratch to opening night? The Museum of Broadway also celebrates the behind-the-scenes of this American art form with “The Making of a Broadway Show.” The exhibit honors the community of talented professionals who bring Broadway plays and musicals to life every night.
If you haven’t gotten your fill of Broadway when you reach the ground floor, don’t miss a stop in the awesome Gift Shop. You’ll not only find quirky and fun souvenirs there to remember the experience, you’ll also have your pick of some pretty cool t-shirts, hoodies and accessories with original designs to make your friends back home jealous.
- Purchase tickets online at themuseumofbroadway.com/tickets or by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200 or 800-447-7400.
- The Museum is open Tuesdays-Sundays and closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
- Hours are:
- Tue-Fri & Sun: 9:30AM – 6:30PM (last entry at 5:00PM)
- Saturday: 9:30AM – 8PM (last entry at 6:30PM)
- Timed tickets cost $39 (plus taxes and fees) and flexible tickets cost $49 (plus taxes and fees).
- Senior tickets (ages 65+) are available for all timed entry slots from Monday through Thursday for $32 (plus applicable taxes and fees). Guests must show ID with proof of age.
- Student tickets are available for all timed entry slots from Monday through Thursday for $29 (plus applicable taxes and fees). Guests must show valid, current student ID.
- On the first Tuesday of every month, The Museum of Broadway offers timed tickets for $25 (plus taxes and fees) and $35 flexible tickets (plus taxes and fees).