Broadway theatre,[nb 1] or Broadway, are the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats, located in the Theater District and the Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Broadway and London's West End together represent the highest commercial level of live theater in the English-speaking world.
While the thoroughfare is eponymous with the district and its collection of 41 theaters, and it is closely identified with Times Square, only three of the theaters are located on Broadway itself, namely the Broadway Theatre, the Palace Theatre, and the Winter Garden Theatre. The rest are located on the numbered cross streets, extending from the Nederlander Theatre one block south of Times Square on West 41st Street, north along either side of Broadway to 53rd Street, as well as the Vivian Beaumont Theater, at Lincoln Center on West 65th Street. While exceptions exist, the term "Broadway theatre" is generally reserved for venues with a seating capacity of at least 500 people. Smaller theaters in New York are referred to as off-Broadway, regardless of location, while very small venues with fewer than 100 seats are called off-off-Broadway, a term that can also apply to non-commercial or avant-garde theater, or productions held outside of traditional theater venues.
The Theater District is an internationally prominent tourist attraction in New York City. According to The Broadway League, for the 2018–19 season total attendance was 14,768,254. Broadway shows had $1,829,312,140 in grosses, with attendance up 9.5%, grosses up 10.3%, and playing weeks up 9.3%. The Museum of Broadway on West 45th Street, opened to the public in November 2022, became the first museum to document the history and experience of Broadway theatre and its profound influence upon shaping Midtown Manhattan and Times Square.
Most Broadway shows are musicals. Historian Martin Shefter argues that "'Broadway musicals', culminating in the productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein, became enormously influential forms of American popular culture" and contributed to making New York City the cultural capital of the world."