While the history of theatre is rich and there is simply no shortage of stages and plays being performed across the globe with major theatres and troupes worldwide, there is absolutely no question that Broadway in New York City is the place to be for theatre actors and actresses from around the planet.
Broadway became the synonymous with theatre during the mid 1800s with people like P.T Barnum himself opening an entertainment complex in lower Manhattan that offered a variety of shows particularly musicals – this were to become the mainstay of Broadway theatre.
Soon after there were many other theatres in the area that catered to the masses, providing venues for the huge amount of companies that performed shows night after night.
Shakespeare’s plays became a very popular subject matter for the actors and directors who plied their trade on the street of dreams known as Broadway.
A very interesting tidbit that is little known in American history is that one of the greatest actors of that time was Edwin Booth who portrayed many characters from the Shakespearean canon and had actually attained global recognition for his portrayal of Hamlet. This fame was overshadowed, however, when his brother John Wilkes Booth assassinated the President of the United States Abraham Lincoln (ironically, in a theatre house) at the end of the Civil War that had torn the U.S apart but had the effect of releasing slaves from the forced servitude.
There were many changes over the years on Broadway and the subject matter that the musicals and plays were based on were a reflection of the times but there were still many that depended on the literature of the classic from Shakespeare and others.
To this day, Broadway is still considered the place to be for theatre goers and the prestige of playing there has not diminished but rather grown over the years.