If you love theater, you may find yourself searching for new productions to watch and enjoy with friends or family. Whether you’re in search of a classic or something new and alternative, theater is a wonderful form of human expression that people of all ages can enjoy.
So, what is it about theater that makes it so special? Certainly, the idea of a live, in-person performance is something that no film or television show can replace, but there are also other little-known elements of theater that make it magical.
Daniel Klibanoff of Asheville, North Carolina, serial entrepreneur and theater devotee, shares 10 of his favorite little-known facts about theater productions.
Daniel Klibanoff’s 10 Facts
(1) In the United States, the longest running musical theater production is the Phantom of the Opera, closely followed by Chicago.
(2) Shakespeare’s “Globe” is the only building in London allowed to have a thatched roof since the Great Fire in 1666.
(3) Do you believe in ghosts? There are two seats that are permanently bolted open at the Palace Theatre in London for the theater ghosts to sit in.
(4) The term “upstage” was from the era when stages were raked at an angle, with the back of the stage being higher up than the front.
(5) Before it was called Broadway, the theatrical district in New York was referred to as “Great White Way.” In fact, the Theater District was one of the first streets in New York to be fully illuminated by white electric bulbs in the 1890s, thus giving rise to the nickname.
(6) During the Elizabethan era (the time when Shakespeare wrote his plays), societies prohibited women from performing on stage, therefore boys and younger men took the female roles.
(7) William Shakespeare once had to play Lady Macbeth when Hal Berridge, the boy playing her, suddenly passed away.
(8) The Lion King is the highest grossing Broadway show known to date. In addition, Julie Taymor, the Director of The Lion King, became the first woman in Broadway history to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical.
(9) The term Off-Broadway has nothing to do with geographical location. Rather, it refers to theater size. Broadway theaters have 500 seats, off-Broadway have 100–499 seats, off-off-Broadway have less than 100 seats.
(10) It’s considered bad luck to say “Macbeth” in a theatrical production, says Daniel Klibanoff. There’s been a wide history of actors being knocked over by falling set pieces or stabbed accidentally with real daggers, many tragic incidents have been blamed on “The Macbeth Curse.” As a result, many superstitious actors are reluctant to utter the word Macbeth in theaters, preferring to use the moniker “The Scottish Lord” instead.