We were thrilled to be invited to the brand new Museum of Broadway in New York City this past weekend. The 26,000 square foot, three floor museum opened in November 2022 and is already receiving a lot of positive buzz.
The Museum of Broadway is designed to take guests through a chronological history of “the Great White Way” (the nickname for Broadway because of the bright lights of the theater marques), with three major segments: The Map Room, The Timeline, and The Making of a Broadway Show. All three parts include tons of original costumes, scripts, daily itineraries, mock ups of sets, film footage of interviews with casts and crews, awards, and highlights of popular shows from each era. Guests begin by walking up three flights of “backstage stairs” to the dressing room area and following a path through three floors of exhibits.
Each chronological era includes a list of shows and the casts with separate displays for some of the groundbreaking shows of that time. There’s trivia on opening dates, the number of Tony Awards each show received, and short bios on the cast. There are several interactive components to each era, but real Broadway aficionados will surely want to read the caption of every photo and the details of every timeline.
15 Interactive Ways to Explore the Museum of Broadway:
- Start in the Playbill Room and check out the display of current Broadway shows. Scan the QR codes on each display and order tickets right from the room!
- Watch the 4 minute video overview of the history of the Theater District (did you know the original theater district was way downtown in what is now referred to as the Financial District?) and check out the map of all the theaters.
- Replicate the dances from West Side Story by following the on screen shadows; leave time to sit at the replica lunch counter made famous in West Side Story.
- Swing on the swing from the first rock musical HAIR.
- Complete the Stephen Sondheim and Bob Fosse themed crossword puzzle.
- Crawl through the tiny door in between the Company replica sets.
- Pause to honor the lives lost during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s in the display also honoring Angels in America.
- Stand on the X to see the phantom’s mask outlined in crystals (over 13,900 crystals to signify the numbers of shows during The Phantom of the Opera’s 35 year reign on Broadway; the show is scheduled set to close in February 2023)
- Sit at the desk from The Producers.
- Relax in a writer’s room wallpapered entirely in sheet music.
- Play a piano across from a real sound board set up in the Making of a Broadway Show exhibit.
- Walk through the arched set designs from various shows.
- Sit in a makeup chair and pretend to have yourself prepared to be “stage ready.”
- Read over the daily itinerary of a stage manager, stage hands, the wardrobe department, and the laundry department to see which job would be the right fit for you. (And take notes of the “Laws of Laundry”)
- Create your own “Hirschfeld” sketch on an iPad. Al Hirschfeld was famous for his sketches of Broadway stars that were showcased on opening night of a show and, after 1945, for “hiding” his daughter Nina’s name somewhere in virtually every sketch (sometimes multiple times!). The last exhibit in the museum includes a replica of the unusual Barber chair he sat in to sketch (the original is on display at Lincoln Center). Guests can also take home Hirschfeld coloring pages.
Looking for more fun in New York City? Check out our index of posts here that include the Museum of Math, Museum of Illusions and Little Island, Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock, Radio City Museum Hall, Spyscape, Federal Hall National Monument, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Smithsonian National Museum of American Indian, Fraunces Tavern Museum, Eataly, New York Public Library, United Nations, Rainy Day Activities, and Holiday Activities. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Disclosure: Our family was given a media pass to explore the museum. All opinions expressed are my own.