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The Short Version: If you’re tired of the same old date night routine, you may want to consider jazzing things up… literally. Home to countless displays representing the spectacle and significance of professional theater, The Museum of Broadway also houses a special exhibit called “All That Jazz: The Legacy of CHICAGO the Musical.” The museum makes for a toe-tapping fun time with your significant other and offers plenty of engaging and interactive experiences that highlight Broadway history. Located in the heart of New York City (and on Broadway itself), The Museum of Broadway promises to immerse visitors in all the magic of the Great White Way.
When you think of New York City, what are the first few things that come to mind? Many people might say Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, or Central Park. There are countless monuments and iconic features tied to the big apple, and Broadway is certainly no exception. Theater fanatics and even novice audience members can both share in the starry-eyed amazement inspired by Broadway shows. The countless incredible performances, starring some of the most talented artists and creatives in the world, are a sight to behold — and definitely deserve commemoration.
Art comes in many forms, and people appreciate those forms in significantly different ways. Hooting and hollering during a local live music event might be encouraged one night, while a highly acclaimed visual art exhibit would likely lead to more demure murmurs of amazement. Broadway theaters, on the other hand, are often a wild card when it comes to audience response; each show elicits its own unique mood and evokes something different in its patrons every time. Many Broadway musicals and plays have even led couples to fall in love to their swooning tunes and romantic storylines, making it an ideal date night spot.
It’s difficult to quantify the exact impact Broadway has had on both history and the art form of theater, but The Museum of Broadway is a noteworthy place to start. Located off the Great White Way, the nickname for a section of Broadway, The Museum of Broadway provides theatergoers a chance to immerse themselves in the magical world of professional theater.
As someone with a college degree in musical theater who has performed in New York City, I can say for certain that Broadway has ignited a passion for the performing arts in millions of dreamers all over the world. What better way to honor the legacy of this cultural haven than to build, essentially, a shrine to its history and artistic footprint?
Enter: The Museum of Broadway.
If you’re an avid musical theater lover, you’ve likely heard music referred to as the universal language. After all, music often transcends language, and every culture shares involvement in some sort of musical element or appreciation. This attitude is definitely a characteristic of Broadway — and theater at large — thanks to its inclusive and intersectional nature.
Nearly every background, culture, and lifestyle has some form of representation in the theater, and The Museum of Broadway does a spectacular job at creating an impressive, interactive experience. Not only that, but the museum is available to all ages, and is a welcoming environment for all levels of Broadway viewership. Even if you and your boo haven’t seen more than a local staging of “Wicked” or “Phantom of the Opera,” you’ll be amazed at all of the engaging and informative exhibits the museum has in store.
“We wanted to layer it in terms of guests,” says museum co-founder Diane Nicoletti. “We have your super Broadway fans, and we knew we needed to make sure there was enough rich content there so that if you’ve really done your homework, and you’ve already learned a lot about Broadway, we were still going to teach you something. And for the casual fans of Broadway — ones that maybe see a show a year or every couple of years — learning about theater is definitely something that they enjoy.”
Beyond its unquestionable influence on theater education and appreciation en masse, The Museum of Broadway is also inclusive when it comes to how it gives back to the community. During each visit, a portion of the ticket price is donated by the museum to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a charity organization founded by theater professionals to support the LGBTQ+ community in their fight for education about and prevention of HIV/AIDS. This cultural sensitivity and awareness just goes to show how important places like The Museum of Broadway are in demonstrating the true heart of Broadway and its people.
When you imagine one place to hold all the memories and magic made throughout the history of Broadway, you’d probably think that one building couldn’t possibly have the ability or capacity, right? Well, think again. Not only does The Museum of Broadway offer a comprehensive overview of the history of Broadway and its never-ending variety of shows and spectacles, but the many rooms within the museum house an impressive array of memorabilia and interactive learning opportunities.
Whether you and your date fancy a look at the sparkling costumes of leading ladies past or would rather take a backstage look at the world of theater technology, this is a one-stop shop for Broadway beginners and superfans alike.
During the creation (and curation) of the various exhibits and offerings in the Museum of Broadway, Nicoletti shares that no metaphorical stone was left unturned. She says the process of deciding what to include and highlight was certainly just that — “a process” — but ended in a well-rounded and authoritative collection. “We worked with historians, curators, and we have a really good relationship with the New York Public Library. We wanted to make sure that there was a bit of a consensus [on what should be featured], and the lens that we took is that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” Nicoletti explains. “Each one has a purpose and a reason for why we’re highlighting it. It gives you the full history of how musical theater has evolved, and how Broadway has evolved.”
Although it’s uncommon for the average person to have knowledge about every era and theme in theater history, couples visiting The Museum of Broadway together are bound to find delight at just how many titles, figures, and tunes they recognize in its halls. From the ingenious choreography of “West Side Story” to the puppetry and cultural significance of “The Lion King,” Nicoletti says that the museum focused its design with “game changing shows” in mind — those stagings and performances that truly left their mark on Broadway and significantly enhanced the progression of the theater arts.
It takes a lot more than just the performers themselves to make a show happen. At The Museum of Broadway, Nicoletti notes that the exhibits featured certainly don’t leave any Broadway team members behind; there are plenty of nods to influential composers, lighting designers, stage managers, lyricists, and choreographers, among others. One of the specific rooms even offers a detailed behind-the-scenes look at what you don’t see beyond the stage. This makes for an exciting date night for any arts enthusiasts, with every possible niche represented.
No matter if you and your significant other are resident Manhattanites or just visiting for a whirlwind weekend, you can’t go wrong with a date at The Museum of Broadway. What better way to learn about such an integral part of the city’s history and culture, and enjoy plenty of entertainment along the way?
“We see dates happen here kind of often, because it’s nice to have just one person with you to go through the museum. And it also gives you that cultural moment in addition to having a good time,” Nicoletti says. “I definitely know some couples that are really into musical theater. If that’s something that you and your partner share, I feel like that could be a really fun day — even if just one of you is really into it, and the other is supporting them.”
If you’re looking to plan your next couple’s vacation or romantic date night in the city, Nicoletti suggests coming to see their special exhibit highlighting the smash hit musical “Chicago.” Currently running through the fall, the exhibit displays the iconic costumes, props, and famous figures of the wildly popular show.