Broadway (play)

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First edition 1927
Written by
Date premieredSeptember 16, 1926 (1926-09-16)
Place premieredBroadhurst Theatre,
New York City, New York
Original languageEnglish
SettingThe private party room of the Paradise Night Club, New York City

Broadway is a 1926 Broadway play produced by Jed Harris and written and directed by George Abbott and Philip Dunning. It was Abbott's first big hit on his way to becoming "the most famous play doctor of all time" after he "rejiggered" Dunning's play.[1] The crime drama used "contemporary street slang and a hard-boiled, realistic atmosphere"[2] to depict the New York City underworld during Prohibition. It opened on September 16, 1926, at the Broadhurst Theatre and was one of the venue's greatest hits,[3] running for 603 performances.


Roy (Lee Tracy) questions Billie (Sylvia Field) about the bracelet she is wearing in the original production of Broadway (1926)
Sylvia Field, costarring with Lee Tracy in Broadway (1927)

Written and directed by Philip Dunning and George Abbott, and produced by Jed Harris, Broadway opened September 16, 1926, at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City. The cast is listed in order of appearance:[4]

  • Paul Porcasi as Nick Verdis
  • Lee Tracy as Roy Lane
  • Clare Woodbury as Lil Rice
  • Ann Preston Bridgers as Katie
  • Joseph Calleia as Joe
  • Mildred Wall as Mazie Smith
  • Edith Van Cleve as Ruby
  • Eloise Stream as Pearl
  • Molly Ricardel as Grace
  • Constance Brown as Ann
  • Sylvia Field as Billie Moore
  • Robert Gleckler as Steve Crandall
  • Henry Sherwood as Dolph
  • William Foran as Porky Thompson
  • John Wray as Scar Edwards
  • Thomas Jackson as Dan McCorn
  • Frank Verigun as Benny
  • Millard Mitchell as Larry
  • Roy R. Lloyd as Mike

Broadway was a smash hit, running for 603 performances. In addition to having his first prominent stage role, cast member Joseph Calleia acted as the company's stage manager and, working for producer Jed Harris, he supervised some ten duplicate productions of Broadway in the United States and abroad.[5][6]


Carl Laemmle paid $225,000 for the film rights[7] in 1927, a sum that set a record.[8] Universal Pictures released Broadway on September 15, 1929.[9]


A 1978 Broadway-bound revival of Broadway, directed by Robert Allan Ackerman, closed during its Boston tryout.[10]


  1. ^ "Theater: Director/Writer George Abbott, 1887-1995". Newsweek. February 13, 1995. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  2. ^ Burt, Daniel S. (2004). The chronology of American literature: America's literary achievements from the colonial era to modern times. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-16821-4. pp. 377-378
  3. ^ "Broadhurst Theatre (Broadway)". Archived from the original on 2009-05-01. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  4. ^ "Broadway". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  5. ^ "Plan 10 Companies to Act 'Broadway'". The New York Times. March 22, 1927. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  6. ^ "Across from Malta". The New York Times. October 21, 1934. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  7. ^ Barrios, Richard (1995). A song in the dark: the birth of the musical film. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508811-5. p. 95
  8. ^ "Philip Dunning, Playwright, 76, Co-Author of 'Broadway,' Dies". The New York Times. July 22, 1968. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  9. ^ "Broadway". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  10. ^ Corry, John. "Broadway." The New York Times, June 30, 1978.

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