Founded in 1930, the Broadway League is a national trade association covering the producers, presenters, theater owners, general managers, and operators who keep Broadway up and running; while you may dream of your name in lights, the Broadway League makes those lights happen! Here are six facts about this vital organization at the heart of the Great White Way.
It brings Broadway everywhere. Despite its name, the Broadway League reaches far past 42nd Street; members produce, host and manage Broadway tours that reach over 200 North American cities each year. These productions are folded into the Broadway League with good reason; with 13.8 million tickets sold and a $932 million gross in the 2013-2014 touring season, the traveling productions are a crucial part of the Broadway industry.
It keeps ticket prices fair. One of the League’s first major battles goes as far back as 1949, when “ticket brokers” resold tickets to hits like “South Pacific” and “Death of a Salesman” for eight times their original price. The Broadway League (then called the League of New York Theatres) partnered with Actors Equity to create the Theatre Ticket Code, putting potential brokers through an approval process and limiting the number of tickets they could resell. Their efforts continue to result in legislation around the country; New York State’s ticket resellers are still required to obtain a license, and can only increase ticket prices to Broadway shows by 20 percent.
It co-sponsors Broadway’s biggest night. As part of its effort to “strengthen Broadway theatre’s position as the pinnacle of live entertainment,” the Broadway League is behind multiple awards and events every year, including the Tony Awards! Co-sponsored with the American Theatre Wing since 1967, all full and honorary Broadway League members double as Tony voters. The League also sponsors the League Awards, honoring excellence in touring Broadway, and the Apple Awards, recognizing exceptional theater educators and programs.
It’s all about sharing the facts. As producers and presenters, League members work hard to follow the numbers and keep Broadway out of the red. In addition to publishing Broadway grosses, attendance, and other statistics on its website, the Broadway League is behind the Internet Broadway Database; the League’s research department launched IBDB in 2001 as a comprehensive online listing of Broadway shows and personnel. Other valuable research includes “Stage Specs,” a subscription-based technical directory of theaters nationwide that includes dimensions, sound and light specifications and other important presenter data.
It’s engaged with the community. With members’ shows reaching over 30 million audience members each year, accessibility and engagement are cornerstones of the League’s mission. Special programs of the Broadway League Foundation include “Family First Nights,” offering very discounted tickets and talk-back opportunities to financially needy families, “Kid’s Night on Broadway,” a promotion offering free kid’s tickets and other Broadway discounts during the winter months, and “Broadway Week,” a 2-for-1 ticket promotion that boosts sales and expands audiences. The League also created “Viva Broadway,” a new initiative aiming to expand Hispanic audiences and bring Broadway to the underrepresented Latino community.
It makes the big decisions. The Broadway League aims to make theatergoing as easy and convenient as possible, resulting in adjusted curtain times, ticketing options, and many other customer service efforts over the years. The League also determines when Broadway shows will be cancelled due to weather emergencies and other extraordinary circumstances. After the devastation of 2001 terrorist attacks, League members partnered with Mayor Rudy Giuliani to re-open theaters a mere two days after the tragedy. Shortly thereafter, cast members from every Broadway show gathered in Times Square (in costume!) to sing “New York, New York” as part of a heartwarming campaign that brought tourism back to New York during the darkest of times, an event that was repeated 10 years later in memory.
For more on the Broadway League including resources and League history, visit www.broadwayleague.com.
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