Ziegfeld and Broadway Hits

 Audio Guide

Narrated by Kathleen Marshall, Broadway director & Choreographer


Theater at the start of the 20th century primarily featured vaudeville acts and temporary productions that would arrive in New York City, barnstorm Manhattan for a series of shows, then leave town. All of that changed in 1907 when Florenz Ziegfeld gave the world the first permanent Broadway spectacle with his illustrious “Follies,” a cultural phenomenon that took the world of entertainment by storm. Ziegfeld’s vision of crafting theater performance so stunning audiences that would flock to see shows on Broadway as a destination for live theater gave the Great White Way its glamorous start. Ziegfeld's first productions with the Follies were made up of variety shows featuring musical numbers, dance productions, and comedy acts. His Follies were such a success that he was able to realize his dream of crafting a hit theatrical production at a dedicated venue. In 1927, Ziegfeld debuted Show Boat, now a classic Broadway musical. It ran for a stunning 572 performances. By establishing the format of running a single production for an entire season, Ziegfeld created the forerunner for today’s long-running musical productions.