Broadway During the 1930's

By: Saige Jost

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Broadway Was Important?

Theater was very important in the 1930's. It was a way for many people to escape reality and forget their problems. Sound had become available in theaters, a huge improvement compared to silent films. But since the sound technology wasn't advanced, it didn't sound professional, and camera angles were very limited. Many motion picture studios still jumped at the chance to play musicals in theaters for it was something new. Soon enough, musicals were capturing the hearts of depression-era Americans all over.

Important Musicals and Movies

The Effect on Theaters

Broadway took a big hit when the stock market crashed. The economy in no way supported this industry at this time, as most people couldn't even afford food, let alone tickets to a Broadway play or musical. It set a domino effect in this community, as people couldn't go to shows, ushers had no business or a theater to pay them, and many theaters closed. Since the turn of the century, less than 100 shows were being offered to the public. The Casino theater in particular, which "as the best expression of Moorish architecture" was destroyed. Unfortunetly, many theaters suffered from neglect, and began crumbling, like the economy at the time.

"We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!"

"The Wizard of Oz"

The Wizard of Oz came out in the very end of the 1930's. It had a long successful run on Broadway, and has had a ton of other adaptations in television, Musicals, short films, silent films, sequels, prequels and many more. There is even a musical after the film (movie) came out. " The Wizard of Oz" is an Academy Award Nominee for three different categories. It was released in black and white, later converting to technicolor. Interestingly, "The Wizard of Oz" wasn't rated when it came out. This film is one of the most popular films of 1939 and is appreciated all over the world.
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Theater Speaks

While it was the great depression, many actors and people in the movie business started paying more attention to the political side of America. Theaters even turned into a place of social protest through plays and performances. Dramas about the working class Americans became common. Playwrights even included social commentary, they even had communist ideals presented to the public through plays.