Those who are familiar with New York City and its major attractions would probably have heard of Broadway as well. What everyone may not know is that Broadway is also known as ‘the great white way’. This might seem like the street has a traditional tale behind it, but it’s actually because this was among the first New York City streets to have electric lights. To this day, the millions of signs, billboards, and other light sources on Broadway brighten up the place even after night falls.
We can see the theatre marquee lights creating a flashing white impression on the night sky in New York City; however, it wasn’t until 1910 that architects saw how electric bulbs would provide both safe lighting and effective advertisement. It was then that the street of Broadway also gained the name of ‘The Great White Way’. Will Irwin, the acclaimed journalist, has described this street as ‘mildly insane by day… (and) divinely mad by night’.
Many other cities might try to imitate the effect of Broadway, but the light effect of the Great White Way still remains unique. it’s hence n surprise that every tourist in New York City wants to visit this place at least once. There are several ways to experience this area of New York, with some being better than others. if you want to make the most of your time and effort, this guide to visiting the Great White Way might be of help:
Deciding What to See
There are several shows available for viewing on the Great White Way, but which one will you choose to see? The answer depends not just on your own preference, but also on your company for the night. Some might choose to go for the most popular show of the season, such as Hamilton or The Book of Mormon in previous years. However, it might not always be possible to procure tickets for the most acclaimed show, so you may have to settle for something else.
If you have kids with you, it’s probably best to go for shows like ‘The Lion King’ or ‘Annie’. Couples might enjoy the classic ‘Phantom of the Opera’ or ‘Rock of Ages’. For family viewings, shows like ‘Pippin’ or ‘Jersey Boys’ won’t let you down.
No matter when you visit the Great White Way or what kind of group you’re with, there’s always a critically acclaimed show available for you. Just make sure to get your tickets in time, so you sit back and enjoy Broadway in all its glory.
Reading Theater Reviews
Theater reviews can give you a lot of insight into any show, but it might require a little attention to decide whether the prose was meant to be a thumbs up or thumbs down. Some reviews might be short and to the point, but others can have very flowery language that tunes you out while reading.
If you find that the reviews for a likely show seem to be too pretentious to be useful, first find a critic that you can either ally yourself with or disagree with completely. There might be a few exceptions to this rule, but having this go-to critic will help in managing your own thoughts about any Broadway show. Remember, there are several theater reviews available online, both in part and in full, so don’t ignore this information.
Buying At A Discount
Getting tickets to shows on the Great White Way could be a major toll on your pocket, but it is possible to get great seats at a sizeable discount. Even if you wait until the last minute, there could be several ways to get yourself cheap seats. For instance, Time Out New York has tickets to most of the major New York City shows with impressive discounts.
There are also several websites that can give you discount codes for buying tickets. You might be able to use them online, or print them out to present at the box office. There are also several shows that give you inexpensive tickets for the rush hour or standing-room experience.
Deciding Where to Sit
If you don’t visit the theater frequently, you might assume that the orchestra seats are the best option. However, this might not always be the case. If you’re going for a colorful musical, it might be best to view the fun from a bit of distance from the stage. Eight rows in are usually the ideal in such cases, but you don’t want to go too far back. The sides are also a gamble, as you might face some obstructions there.
Aisle seats are good for those who want legroom, while families might aim for booster seats for the kids. You could always ask the user if your preferences are available; you just might get what you want! Seasoned theatergoers usually prefer the front mezzanine if they can get it; the distance is perfect for taking in all the action, while there’s little chance of anything clocking your view. The front row will probably get you a cramp in your neck, so avoid it when possible.
Getting Something to Eat
Theatre shows are highly entertaining, but it’s uncomfortable to sit through one on an empty stomach. It’s hence recommended that you look around at the restaurant options before delving into the shows of the Great White Way. There are several eateries around Times Square, but you might be better off looking up the non-touristy options. These will give you some quality food at reasonable prices. If you can’t find anything good online, talk to the people who’ve been to the Great White Way several times before. You’ll probably get the best recommendations that way.
No trip to the Great White Way will be complete without a souvenir of sorts. However, a good picture or your tickets stub could be enough if you’re on a budget. Merchandise prices are through the roof these days, so it might be best to hold off on such purchases unless you’re getting a really good deal.
If a keepsake is absolutely necessary, stick with a small option like a keychain or fridge magnet. If you do see something expensive that seems indispensable, use the internet first to see if it’s available online for a lower price. The in-theater markup could easily double those retail prices, so it’s wise to use your technology and save your cash.
Learning Proper Etiquette
Many fans can be found lining up outside the theater doors in the hope of an autograph or just a glimpse of their favorite stars. Of course, the stars usually take a long time to emerge, if they do, and are usually too preoccupied with getting away safely instead of posing for selfies. You’d be much better off skipping the stars altogether and trying to get an autograph from a chorus member. These are the people who would be delighted to sign any program or take a picture with you. You’d still have a nice story to tell and a meaningful click to put up on your social media.
If you must pursue a celebrity, be prepared to follow some simple rules. Don’t risk the anger of the cops or theater staff, but stay within the barricade limits. If a star does appear, assert yourself but stay calm. Finally, hold out your program or playbill for an autograph, not memorabilia. The latter could be difficult to sign, and you don’t want to shrink your already limited chances.
Spotting the Stars
Once you’re done with the show, you naturally want to meet the people who make it happen. Look up the spots where Broadway pros can often be found after their performances. Some of these places might even offer a decent cup of coffee, so you won’t lose out even if the stars happen to unwind some other place on the night you’re there.
Sharing the Experience
Once you visit the Great White Way, you have bragging rights for the next few days. Check in at the theater on Facebook once you’re there, or use Foursquare before the curtains part. After the show’s done, you can share your feedback on the relevant Facebook pages or your own blog.
There are also several theater message boards that you can use to discuss the shows with other theater enthusiasts. However, we don’t recommend using your smartphone or any other mobile device during the actual performance. If you do, you might run the risk of offending a star or critic.
Deciding What to See Next
If you want to remain updated on what’s happening at the Great White Way, you might want to subscribe to the relevant newsletters. This way, you’ll get the links to new theater features, reviews, and even the last-chance shows before they go away for good.
If you live outside New York City, such updates are even more important. You can also branch out and subscribe to theater events for other cities in order to broaden your horizons.
Before you go to visit the Great White Way, preparation is the key to having the time of your life! Decide beforehand what show you want to see, what Broadway house you want to visit, and whether you want to angle for an autograph or not. Deciding what to eat and when is also an important choice that can affect the mood of your Broadway night. The guidelines above will make sure that your time and money is well spent, so do follow them when possible.
When all is said and done, it’s best to think of the Great White Way as more than just a place to view some shows. It’s a place where you can experience stardom (if only secondhand) and enjoy yourself to the utmost. Don’t worry about doing just the right thing and meeting just the right people; choose your entertainment and get some amazing clicks for your Instagram.