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Friday, July 27, 2018

The Friday 5: 5 Iconic Broadway Marquees

Part of the excitement of seeing a Broadway show for me happens before they even scan my ticket. And with bag checks now, I have even more time to savor this moment. I'm talking, of course, about seeing the marquee for the show I'm about to see.  Shows come and go, but in most cases, the marquee itself becomes part of the memory. Things have changed, for sure - those hi-def screens are a welcome addition. In some cases, they have been spruced up/refurbished.  In the case of the Marquis, the marquee isn't even in the same place! These 5 are my favorite Broadway marquees - even if when the show changes.

The Friday 5:
Jeff's 5 Favorite
Theatre Marquees


HONORABLE MENTION
THE VIVIAN BEAUMONT THEATER AT LINCOLN CENTER

Between the elegant setting of all of Lincoln Center, the huge plate glass windows and the show-specific neon signs, arriving for the show here is like attending the opening of an art installation every single time!

Big theater, big ape. The perfect match
for King Kong: The Musical

5. BROADWAY THEATRE
A pristine view of the marquee - all the better because it is
for a show that never opened Mambo Kings

There's something both modern and retro about the Broadway Theatre marquee. The art deco style up against a modern office building is a reminder of the grand old theater from the past, with a new building wrapped around it.

The current tenant, Carousel, with the vivid HD screen
showing off the amazing show logo

4. IMPERIAL THEATRE
The stunning awning is especially beautiful when fully lit.

Left: An artist's rendering of the "old" Imperial Theatre entrance
Right: The corresponding back of the theatre. The show signs change, but the frame remains.

Even in broad daylight, the "new" marquee is lovely.

See? The back is still the same...

Over the years, the marquee in front of the Imperial has undergone a transformation, from the "modern" 60-70's style to a more timeless, classic style with lots of lights, and most recently the over-awning HD screen. The back, on 46th Street, hasn't changed a bit.

Classic twinkling light name + show billboard =
easy recognition

3. WINTER GARDEN THEATRE
The matching back is just as iconic

Memories: What the theater looked like the first time I saw it.
Never did make it to the Hawaii Kai

My first theater was the Gershwin, but my first wide-eyed Broadway experience was the surprise of walking over to Broadway, and seeing the giant Cats billboard. Over the years, that billboard has changed a few times, but that feeling of awe never really goes away. I always wonder how many kids see the same thing and feel like I did that day in 1983.

A lot of the marquee's charm is best experienced at night

2. THE MUSIC BOX THEATRE

The first Broadway theater with an electric marquee, the awning and marquee top in green has not changed since it was installed. The modern HD screen isn't even that different from what was there before - same size and proportions.

Its position on 44th Street and Shubert Alley allows for
A LOT of marquee on a mid-block corner

1. SHUBERT THEATRE

The entire building is iconic, but the marquee awnings on Shubert Alley and on 44th Street allow a hit show a ton of advertising space. But the "corner" marquee and the curb to door awning is pure Broadway! Google it... there are a ton of various versions of the above photos! Save for a few tweaks, things haven't changed that much outside the Shubert Theatre. The definition of "classic."

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