Broadway

Broadway is considered a professional theatre with 500 seats or more in the Theatre District, New York. Broadway shows grossed approximately $943.3 million in the 2008-09 season.

Broadway shows typically have an 8-performance week. Evening performances are Tuesday-Saturday nights with two performances on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

In recent years, many casting directors look to known stars to feature in their Broadway shows to draw larger audiences. The vast majority of Broadway actors are represented by unions. The Actors' Equity Association currently represents over 48,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity negotiates wages and provides many benefits to promote live theatre.

The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards are the most prestigious Broadway awards to recognize the excellence of theatre starting in 1947. Named after Antoinette Perry, the leader of the American Theatre Wing, the first Tony Award's ceremony presented eleven Tonys in seven different categories. In the first years of the Tony Awards, over 1,000 guests attended the event. Today, over 5,000 guests attend the gala at Radio City while CBS broadcasts the event in which millions of Americans watch.

In addition to recognizing theatre, many performers and presenters grace the stage. Now, the Tony Awards is a joint venture between The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. The Tony Award Administration Committee consists of 24 members who determine the eligibility of nominees. The 2010 Tony Awards will be hosted on Sunday, June 13th on CBS.

Today, Broadway is reaching to a larger demographic by targeting different media platforms. Many plays are being turned in to movies, and vice-versa. RENT was made an instant success when brought to the big screens in 2003, which helped its fan-base multiply. On the other hand, Legally Blonde was made into a Broadway musical. In attempts to generate a large audience, MTV produced a reality series in which Elle Woods hopefuls competed each week in a singing, acting, and dancing competition to win their chance to make their debut on Broadway.

In addition to movies, the undeniable talent of Broadway stars is starting to make an appearance on television series. The show Glee on FOX was an instant phenomenon and continues to draw in soaring ratings. Broadway stars on the television series features Lea Michele from Spring Awakening and Les Miserables, Jonathon Groff, and Kristen Chenoweth. Broadway phenomenon Idina Menzel who won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in A Musical for her performance as Elphaba in Wicked is also part of the talented cast.