William Shatner once said, “My plan has always been to return to Broadway every 50 years.”
Very few places have an appeal that comes close to Broadway. People come from all over the world to New York City and seeing a Broadway show is always on their list. What is it about this place that has drawn in hundreds of millions of souls, made so many careers, and broken so many people? For the actors who performed there, Broadway is a brutal and beloved place. Ethel Merman said, “Broadway has been very good to me. But then, I’ve been very good to Broadway.”
It was once called The Great White Way, a reference to the brilliantly lit street devoted to leisure and amusements. I’m not positive about this, but I believe the signs were lit with gas until the mid-twentieth century, which would explain the ethereal glow in the photos from the 1910s and 1920s. It isn’t only the theatres though, the life force seems to spring up through the pavement. Let’s take a look and see what we can discern through the pictures.