The Museum of Broadway is a museum dedicated to the history of theatre in New York City. It is located at 145 W 45th Street in Manhattan, just steps from Times Square. The museum opened in November 2022, and I had the chance to visit just a couple weeks after the grand opening.
The entrance to the museum is fairly unassuming, especially compared to the bright lights of Times Square. There are a couple window displays to greet passers-by. In November, there were costumes from the movie adaption of Matilda The Musical.
As you enter the building, you are in the gift shop. Towards the back of the gift shop is the entrance to the museum. There is a check-in desk to validate pre-purchased tickets or to pay for entrance.
The visit to the museum starts with climbing stairs to the top floor, although there is an elevator for those who require it. The first room has a list and description of all the current Broadway shows, as well as a QR code to purchase tickets on your phone. After this area, you’ll enter another room to watch a brief video on the history of theatre and the origins of Broadway.
After the video, you’ll start to explore the different sections of the museum, slowly winding back to the ground floor. The museum exhibits are mostly presented in chronological order.
The first section will take you through the origins of Broadway, including vaudeville, the Zeigfeld Follies, and shows like Show Boat and Porgy and Bess. You’ll see some old photos, artwork, and costumes. There is also a recreation exhibit from Oklahoma!
The next section focuses on the 70s, with exhibits on shows like Cabaret, Company, Hair, Hello Dolly The Wiz, Annie, and A Chorus Line.
In this area you will also find a display on West Side Story. In addition to costumes and displays, there is a recreation of the pharmacy set as well.
The next area area has a focus on the various Andrew Lloyd Webber hits, such as Cats, Evita, and the Phantom of the Opera.
The display moves on to more recent shows, including Rent, The Lion King, Avenue Q, and Hamilton.
This area also has what I consider one of the most impressive displays. It’s a 360 model of the Gershwin Theatre, featuring the stage of the musical Wicked.
The Making Of A Broadway Show
The next area of the Museum of Broadway focuses on the different aspects of putting on a Broadway production. It includes displays on stage managing, makeup, and costumes.
To exit the museum, you’ll once again go through the gift shop. The merchandise is mostly made up of what is sold at the various Broadway shows. There are also some unique museum branded items. There was also a display with some items from Pippin.
Overall I think a museum dedicated to Broadway is a great idea, and I’m surprised it took this long. The museum has some really cool displays, and a good collection of props, costumes, and set pieces. I’m sure as time goes on, they will continue to build their collection. I have to admit, I found the entrance fee to be a bit high. However, the museum is located in one of the most expensive real estate areas in the world, so I imagine a large portion of the admission goes to rent.
Despite the high cost, I definitely think the museum is worth checking out for any theatre fan. There’s more than enough to entertain visitors for a couple hours.