The Early History of Broadway Theater

Broadway Theater District pic
Broadway Theater District
Image: spotlightonbroadway.com

An entrepreneur based in Miami, Florida, Antonio Junior is the founder of Florida Conservation, where he oversees all annual budgeting and implements organizational policies and procedures. Outside of his professional activities in Miami, Antonio Junior enjoys traveling to New York City to see plays on Broadway.

New York’s famous Broadway Theater District traces its roots to 1750, when Walter Murray and Thomas Kean opened a 280-person theater company on Nassau Street. Designed for ballad operas and Shakespearean plays, the theater company rose to fame by hosting the popular John Gay ballad opera The Beggar’s Opera.

Following the Revolutionary War at the end of the 18th century, the 2,000-seat Park Theater was built. Many more theaters were constructed in the first half of the 19th century, including Niblo’s Garden and the Astor Place Theatre. Toward the mid-1800s, musicals began to displace the previously popular Shakespearean plays, with burlesque troupes such as the British Blondes also gaining popularity. The first modern musical with choreographed dance and music occurred in 1866 and was five and a half hours long. The mid-century also marked the time that many theaters began moving to Broadway proper in Midtown Manhattan due to lower real estate prices.

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