Arts Blog

14 Interesting Facts About the Theater and Broadway

1. The term ‘theatre’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘to behold’ while the term ‘tragedy’ comes from a Greek expression meaning “goat song”.

2. Theatre began in ancient Greece. The Greek held a religious ceremony called ‘dithyramb’ which features a chorus of men dressed in goat skins.

3. Broadway used to be called the ‘Great White Way’. The Theatre District was one of the first streets to be fully illuminated by white bulbs in New York during the 1890s.

4. The lights of Broadway were dimmed during the first World War. As a result, the public demanded the government for the city to have increased coal ration to restore the district lights.

5. With street running up to 33 whole miles from Lower Manhattan to Albany, Broadway is considered the longest street in New York City.

6. 18 out of the 33 miles are not really within the New York City limits.

7. Broadway street used to be called “Brede weg” during the Dutch settlement in America. The term Broadway is the English translation of the previously known Dutch name.

8. The longest-running Broadway show is none other than the Phantom of the Opera.

9. The performance debuted in 1988 and is running on it is now on its fourth decade of stellar performance. 2019 marks its 31st anniversary with over 12,500 performances staged to more than 18 million people.

10. The revenues for the Phantom of the Opera are higher than Titanic, ET, Star Wars and Avatar.

11. Phantom was played by 15 actors on Broadway in 30 years, having 5 temporary replacements.

12. The first African-American actor to perform the role of the Phantom was Norm Lewis.

13. Ali Ewoldt was the first-ever Asian-American to play the role of Christine on Broadway history.

14. Every actor playing Phantom gets a custom-made mask.300 masks have been custom-made since its first show.