New York City Broadway Walking Tour

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“If you want people to move out of your way you just do this,” our tour guide Amada tells us as we cross the street in Times Square doing jazz hands. It’s a busy Saturday morning, and the people move away from us, like Moses parting the Red Sea. They likely think we’re crazy, but I’d like to believe that we’re just slightly theatrical.

Jazz Hands

Jazz Hands

I always like to look up possible attraction tickets and tours on Groupon before I travel somewhere, and when I saw a deal for a Broadway-themed walking tour with New York Broadway Tours, I was sold. My friends and I had already booked a food walking tour, but this was Broadway, so we had to go. Aside from me and my three friends, there were only two other ladies with us. We went on a Saturday morning, and it was pretty busy. Then again, we were in Times Square, and it’s always busy there.

One of the stops on the tour is Sardi’s, a famous restaurant in Times Square known for its celebrity caricatures.

Musicals

I think we were meant to go on this tour because the first stop was at The Nederlander Theatre. If this doesn’t excite you, then you aren’t a Renthead (a term given to fans of the musical Rent). It was here at the Nederlander where Rent had its Broadway debut back in January of 1996. When our tour guide Amada suggested singing the song “Take Me Out Tonight” I thought to myself this is awesome. Of course, for some people singing outside, in public, on a tour group might be more of a nightmare than a dream come true, but you’re not required to sing. I sure did though.

The Nederlander Theatre. During this trip in 2014, the musical Newsies was running at The Nederlander.

A Little US and Theatre History

There are a lot of theatres in Manhattan, and this tour can’t cover all of them, but you do visit quite a few. Unfortunately, you don’t get to go inside the theatres or backstage (well we did get to go into the lobby of one theatre). However, you do get to learn a bit about the history of some of these theatres as well as Times Square. Like The Booth Theatre, which I asked about. Was it named after John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln? Not quite. Apparently, The Booth Theatre was named after his brother, Edwin Booth, who was a prominent theatre actor.

Front of the Booth Theatre in New York City
Booth Theatre in New York City. Named after Edwin Booth, and not John Wilkes Booth. In 2010 I saw the musical Next to Normal here.

Good Luck, uh I Mean Break A Leg Rituals

The other stop we made was at the Times Square Information Center. I’d been here before, but I didn’t know there was a small collection of memorabilia like costumes and props from Broadway shows, including a Legacy Robe from the 2008 Broadway season.

The Legacy Robe is a robe that has memorabilia from all the new musicals (including revivals) on Broadway in a given year. It’s a tradition for the chorus member with the most chorus credits to get the robe on a show’s opening night. That person puts it on and walks around the stage three times. Then the other performers in the show touch the robe for good luck (although you never say “good luck” in theatre, you say “break a leg”). When the next new musical opens on Broadway the last person to wear the robe goes to the opening night performance and gives that show the Legacy Robe, and the whole thing starts all over again. It’s a bit superstitious, and kind of a weird tradition. If you think about it’s not any stranger than sports players refusing to wash their lucky jersey.

Final Thoughts

The tour was just under two hours and was a lot of fun. The tour guide, Amada, was friendly and enthusiastic about theatre, musicals and New York City. I learned something new and if you like theatre, history, or just want to learn more about New York I highly recommend taking this tour.

Things To Know
I was not contacted by New York Broadway Tours to write about my experience with them. My experience and opinions in this post are my own. Please note: I’ve updated this post information to reflect the new name of the Legacy Robe from its former name.
While I was in New York City my friends and I stayed at the St Giles Hotel on the Upper West Side. It was a nice mid-range hotel and only a couple of blocks from Grand Central Station. Of course, there is no shortage of accommodation in New York City you can book here.

Would you go on a Broadway walking tour?

4 thoughts on “New York City Broadway Walking Tour”

  1. It was a great tour. If you’re in New York you should definitely try and see a Broadway show. It can be pricey, but it’s a fun experience.

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