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Theatre district in New York City. It is named for the avenue that runs through the Times Square area in central Manhattan, where most of the larger theatres are located. Broadway attracted theatre producers and impresarios from the mid-19th century. The number and size of the theatres grew with New York's increasing prosperity, and by the 1890s the brightly lit street was called the Great White Way. By 1925, the height of theatrical activity in New York, about 80 theatres were located on or near Broadway; by 1980 only about 40 remained. In the 1990s the revitalization of the seedy Times Square neighbourhood attracted larger audiences, though high production costs limited the viability of serious plays in Broadway theatres, which often chose to mount big musicals and other crowd-pleasing commercial ventures. See alsoOff-Broadway.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Broadway, visit Britannica.com.