Taking The Lead: Why You Should Go To The Museum of Broadway
(Image courtesy of The Museum of Broadway)
In the seventh grade, my social studies teacher taught the class how to spell all the states and capitals. The one everyone was worried they would misspell Oklahoma. Luckily, Roger and Hammerstein taught me how to spell the word. My drama teacher had our six-person drama class read Arthur Miller's Crucible in high school. I was amazed how Miller's work spoke about the importance of standing up for what is right in the face of the mob. Fast forward to my senior year of college, my professor assigned us to watch the musical/film Cabaret brought to life how the socio-political state of the Weimar Republic before the rise of Nazi Germany.
(Video courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QS1l1mSDSo . Video depicts Sally (Liza Minnelli) singing Cabaret from the 1972 movie Cabaret)
The theater is an art form that communicates morals and values across eons and places. The combination of audio and visual storytelling allows the theater to transform the lives of the actors, audience, and production team. In 2022, The Museum of Broadway will illuminate Times Square about the history and importance of theater. I had the chance to speak with founders Julie Boardman, Tony Award winning producer , and Diane Nicoletti, the founder of Rubik Marketing, to learn more about why you should visit the museum.
(Images courtesy of the Museum of Broadway. Left Image depicts Julie Boardman,Tony Award winning producer r. Right Image depicts Diane Nicoletti, the founder of Rubik Marketing)
1. Why should someone visit the museum?
Julie: It may sound impossible, but we’re really and truly trying to create something for everyone. No matter your background. Wherever you may come from. Whatever your relationship to Broadway — from the newbies to the diehards, from the Rentheads to the Phanatics. Whether your first show was The Music Man in 1957 or The Music Man in 2022. It is meant to be entertainment, an education, and perhaps most of all, a celebration to share with friends both in person and on social media. And why wouldn’t someone want to spend a few hours celebrating Broadway?
(Video courtesy of THE RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN ORGANIZATION - A CONCORD COMPANY)
2. What was the creative process (from inception to completion) to create the museum?
Diane: As an owner of an experiential agency, I have worked in this space for more than a dozen years now. Julie and I have been friends since college. Julie came up with an idea of a Broadway Museum. We thought, " “Why isn’t there one?” It's sort of the hidden obvious." The Broadway Museum is not a new idea, but while many people tried to create a Broadway Museum, we added nuances to make our experience truly one of a kind. From an overall industry standpoint, The Museum is a hybrid component that combines visual storytelling (as seen in places like the Museum of Ice Cream) coupled with the artifacts to offer kinetic and visual learning opportunities.
An example of this can be seen in the Making of A Broadway Show Room. We began to wonder what the museum's perspective was during the ideation process. Would we focus on all the different jobs it would take to create a show and then do a deep dive with one show? Or, Would we focus on one area like costume design and then look at a show from that angle. The one idea that anchored the project echoed what Julie always says. Julie says, " We stand on the shoulders of those of came before us." With this idea in mind, we decided to look at the timeline of Broadway and explore the building blocks in which Broadway has evolved.
(Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera. Image depicts Porgy and Bess by GEORGE GERSHWIN, DUBOSE AND DOROTHY HEYWARD, AND IRA GERSHWIN)
The crux of the museum took shape on focusing on Broadway's history and explore game changing moments in a timeline format- Diane
(Image courtesy of Disney. Image depicts the Schuyler sisters from the musical Hamilton. Image can be found on https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/hamilton-original-cast/ )
Julie: The museum is excellent for guests who know everything about Broadway or those beginning their Broadway journey. The timeline explores those who came before us and how they paved the way to get us to where we are today. We showcase you came before us and how they paved our path today.
(Image courtesy of CNN. Image depicts The Wiz on Broadway. You can find this image at https://www.cnn.com/2015/12/03/entertainment/gallery/tbt-the-wiz-broadway-musical/index.html )
3. How does the museum accommodate different stakeholders that have different attitudes, beliefs, and mindsets?
Julie: Some people make pilgrimages to New York to see Broadway shows; others might not have been to a show. We recognize that our audience might have different perspectives, and we want to educate them about the importance and history of Broadway. The museum will address the history the Broadway since its inception in the 1700s. A casual fan will visually absorb the information. While a Broadway connoisseur will be able to dive into the aspects of show making that are most interesting to them. Kids and adults can enable with the material via visual and kinetic storytelling.
(Image courtesy of https://leasalonga.com/bio . Image depicts Lea Salonga in her Tony Award winning production of Miss Saigon)
Diane: When discussing the 1960s, that area will have a graphic design mural to see the geopolitical and socio-economic elements that created the Hippie Movement. One can then see how the Hippie Movement impacted Broadway as Broadway incorporated sexual revolution elements into its works.
(Image courtesy of BBC. Image depicts the original cast. You can find this image at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-45625785 )
4. What are the health/safety measures the museum will be taking?
Julie: The Museum will follow all the government regulations to ensure the safety of our guests and team members. The Museum will utilize timed ticket which will allow for the Museum to control the flow and occupancy of the exhibitions.
(Image courtesy of Wix)
Diane: We will make changes accordingly to when we begin our operations. On our website, we have a safety tab where one can learn more about museum's safety measures.
(image courtesy of https://www.thebroadwaybeat.com/post/phantom-of-the-opera-allowed-to-reopen-as-long-as-phantom-extends-mask-to-cover-entire-mouth-nose . Image depicts the Phantom from the Phantom of The Opera)
5. Why should someone care about Broadway?
Julie: If you look back at Broadway's history, you'll see certain shows that discuss societal movements and issues before social acceptance. A musical or play can change our outlook one song or monologue at a time.
(Image depicts Rent The Musical. Image courtesy of https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a26009913/rent-live-musical-meaning-explained/ )
A show has the ability to change the hearts and minds of people through entertainment - Julie
(Image courtesy of Theater Mania. Image depicts Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel in the original 2003 Broadway cast of Wicked.© Joan Marcus)
Our curators are leaning into how theatrical storytelling can impact societal views.- Diane
(Image courtesy of Dance Informa. Image depicts Jesse Kovarsky, Jacob Guzman, Reed Luplau, Brandt Martinez, Eric Bourne in the Bottle Dance from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. Photo by Joan Marcus.)