Courses and Workshops

How Broadway Became Broadway

Peter Davis
Monday, Jun. 3, 2024, 9:00 AM – 11:59 PM (PT)
Price: $90.00
41 slots available

old print of 19th century theater interior

This course explores how Broadway became the focal point of American commercial theatre beginning with the city's expansion north of Wall Street in the 17th century to the tumultuous 19th century when immigration, economic upheaval, social divisions, industrial growth, and aesthetic changes led to Broadway becoming the heart of the professional theatre world. We will then trace how theatre became entertainment for the masses, and how industry sought to channel this success as both a means of social influence and political control, sowing the seeds for a new theatrical aesthetic, as well as commercial exploitation and audience manipulation, that would find a new home in the newest form of entertainment technology —film — leading inevitably to the decline of live stage in the mid-20th century.


Faculty Bio

After 40 years in the classroom, Peter Davis retired in 2017 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he served as Chair of the Theatre Studies and MA/PhD Programs, as well as Director of Graduate Studies. He is also a professional actor, director, and author.


This is an Encore Course

  • Encore courses are popular courses that were recorded a previous term.
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Member Praise for "How Broadway Became Broadway"

I learned so much from Peter about how Broadway began and grew as well as the development of NYC. I.greatly appreciated how thorough this subject was covered and how well and interestingly it was presented.

Enjoyed the historical information, the lecturer's enthusiasm, and the slides with images. I learned a lot!! Thank you.


Faculty Q&A