Give My Regards to Broadway was a song from George M!, a Broadway musical based on the life of George M. Cohan. George was the biggest broadway star from the late 1880s until the late 1930’s. He was so popular that he was affectionately known as “The Man Who Owned Broadway.” This was all way before my time folks. The 1880’s – that is more like my manager Mr. Bricks’ era — it’s a good 100 years before I even found this planet.
Broadway is also called the Great White Way. If you were wondering why it got that nickname it’s because Broadway was one of the first streets in the US to be lit by electric lights: in 1880, Brush arc lamps lit nearly a mile-long stretch of the street. About twenty years later, a headline in the New York Evening Telegram called the stretch the Great White Way. They lit up the night in “white” light…hence the name. See aren’t you glad you read my blog today? I’m full of useless trivia crap.
At one point in time appearing in a Broadway show was a career boosting event for any actor. Now, not so much. Attending a broadway show was equally a big to do for any person who enjoyed going to the theatre. Everyone would get dressed up to the nines, like high school students still do for their prom. It was a very special and fun thing to do.
Now things have changed quite a bit. If you go to see a play on Broadway now you might see tourists wearing flip-flops and low-rise jeans at the show. And it’s not for the faint of heart either. Don’t be surprised if one of these tourist is sitting in front of you and when it comes to the curtain call and everyone stands giving the cast a standing ovation you might be greeted by the sight of butt crack, tramp stamp and a thong! And that is just on the guys. Maybe I just yearn to have been a part of the heyday of Broadway, when the likes of George M. Cohan ruled the stage.
Broadway is still big business, don’t get me wrong. According to the industry’s trade association, The Broadway League, Broadway grossed more than $1 billion in the 2009-2010 season. Attendance reached nearly 12 million, topping that of the ten professional New York and New Jersey sports teams put together. But it just doesn’t have that magical allure it once had.
Ok, if people are still shelling out big bucks to go see a Broadway show in their flip-flops and low-rise jeans, this Greek girl wants to know where have all of the good original ideas for Broadway shows gone?
Why do old television shows and movies now have to also become Broadway shows? Remember names like, Les Miserables, Cats, A Chorus Line, Annie, Phantom of The Opera, The Fantasticks. Those were Broadway shows. Today if you go see a Broadway show here are some of your current choices:
- Driving Miss Daisy
- The Addams Family
- Sister Act
- The Pee Wee Herman Show