The face of Broadway is officially in flux. In the last two months alone, we've seen two theatres renamed (the Cort Theatre became the James Earl Jones, and the Brooks Atkinson became the Lena Horne). And just a few years ago, Broadway got a "new" theatre when the Hudson Theatre reopened its doors as a theatrical venue in 2016 for the first time since 1968.
Enter The Business of Broadway, which has worked with Marquee Design Studio to produce a new and fully up-to-date Broadway map. The map offers a bird's eye view of the entire Broadway theatre district, from the Nederlander on West 40th all the way up to Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater on West 65th. The organization even went a step further and color coded all of the theatre names to help identify which Broadway landowner owns and operates each venue, offering theatre fans and industry professionals alike a comprehensive look at the current Broadway landscape.
We talked to The Business of Broadway about how this new map came to be and why it's important to have on hand, particularly for those just beginning their Broadway careers.
Tell us about The Business of Broadway and how this map fits into that project.
The Business of Broadway (or #BoB as we lovingly call ourselves) is led by a team of commercial theatre producers—Erica Rotstein, Heather Shields, Rachel Sussman, and Sammy Lopez—seeking to democratize knowledge around how the commercial theatre business operates. The goal of our company is to provide theatremakers of all kinds with greater agency in their careers by building an industry focused on transparency and more effective, less hierarchical collaboration. We decided to create this custom map in collaboration with Marquee Design Studio to further our mission to be a resource as our industry continues to evolve.
What inspired creating this new map? What are its unique features compared to other Broadway maps?
In our Producing 101 course, we examine the Broadway theatres and owners using a map as a visual tool in our teaching. We scoured the web, but couldn’t find a recent map featuring all of the current Broadway real estate, including the Hudson Theatre (which was reinstated in 2016), as well as the recently renamed Lena Horne Theatre and James Earl Jones Theatre. With this discovery, we felt compelled to offer our community a map that reflects Broadway today in 2022.
Marti Reiff (of Marquee Design Studio) has made a name for herself selling custom maps that celebrate folks’ beloved cities and/or venues, and we are big fans of her as an artist and human. So we immediately thought of her and were so excited when she said yes to this collaboration. She also designed our BoB logo!
What do you think is so special about the Broadway theatres?
There’s no other theatrical platform like Broadway in the world—for many tourists, it’s the reason they visit NYC. To us, it also offers a meaningful opportunity to shift the paradigm in terms of the kind of subject matter and stories we consider “commercial” as the landscape evolves. The 41 theatres themselves are all historically landmarked buildings rich with historic legacy. It’s incredible to think of what those walls have seen over time.
We've seen more Broadway venue name changes in the last few weeks than in decades. Do you think the real estate of Broadway is in a time of unique change, or a growth–spurt?
It’s inspiring to see the Broadway venue name changes happening because it not only uplifts the legacy of those artists receiving the honor, but it offers us as theatregoers and members of the arts community the chance to see the real estate industry meet the demands of our changing world. We’re feeling hopeful that the Broadway theatre owners—who single-handedly decide what work is seen on a Broadway stage—are recognizing the power and influence they have to push the boundaries of where and what art can be shared. New venues like The Shed and The Perelman Performing Arts Center (coming in 2023) will help our industry continue to uniquely grow.