Just east of Times Square is a shiny new mecca for Broadway fans of all ages – The Museum of Broadway! It opened on November 15, 2022, and it’s full of costumes, music, props, and so much information on Broadway history that you may not be able to even take it all in! I visited the museum recently with students from my theatre classes and they (and I) had so much fun, I wanted to share it with StageAgent readers! So, if you’ve heard about the museum and are interested in going, or maybe the trip to NYC is just too far, read on to find out more about Broadway’s newest interactive and experiential museum.

When you arrive, you enter into an amazing gift shop full of books about Broadway and the shows and actors, tee-shirts and sweatshirts, plus one-of-a-kind sketches and models, and other fun items.

Tickets are on a timed entry system, and the museum has free lockers so you can safely leave your coats and bags put away. Then you can be hands-free to play and take lots of photos throughout the building!

Your first experience is a short film about the history of Broadway and the theatres, and the people who built them and first produced shows. Once there were over 80 theatres and many were not where you think they would have been. Some of the earliest theatres were built in the lower part of Manhattan, not in midtown where the majority of the 41 operating Broadway houses exist. Did you know that a Broadway theatre isn’t just about being located on Broadway, but is about how many seats it holds? In this case, it’s more than 499 seats.

The Timeline of Broadway

Then you enter a hallway and find the first of many “timelines” of Broadway history with photos, copies of the show programs, posters and ads, and lots of interesting bits of history and trivia to read. These timelines are set up throughout the museum and are packed with titbits of information about so many shows from the most popular like Into the Woods, Peter Pan, and Chicago to the historical, but slightly obscure shows like Awake and Sing, Angel Street, and more.

A snapshot of the timeline displays.

In between the timelines are gorgeous rooms dedicated to specific eras or shows. One of the first is the tribute to the Ziegfeld Follies, which were huge, glorious extravaganzas with show girls in gorgeous costumes and huge headpieces that featured entertainers like Fanny Brice, whose life is depicted in the musical Funny Girl.

Tribute to the Ziegfeld Follies.

The West Side Story part of the exhibit has a whole soda fountain set and a really cool area where you can dance along with shadows of actors doing the famous Jerome Robbins choreography.

Red photo: Charlie Burgess gets Cool.
Soda counter: Charlie Burgess (front), Maya Pjevac, Skye Shapiro, and Misia Wong (behind counter L to R) check out Doc’s Soda Fountain.

Original and revival costumes are on display from famous classic Broadway shows like Show Boat, Hello, Dolly!, A Chorus Line, and Annie, plus shows like Rent, The Lion King, Hamilton, and so many more. There’s even a big tribute section to the longest-running show on Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera!

Costumes from The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Hamilton, and The Lion King.

Another floor houses displays about how a Broadway show gets made from costume designs and sketches to the various areas backstage like stage manager consoles, make-up tables, and props.

One of the backstage displays.

In closing, there is so, so much more to see and do at the Museum of Broadway, you need to plan a trip there next time you are in NYC!

All photos courtesy of Laura Ware.

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