The differences between the West End and Broadway

London and New York City have many similarities, but their differences make each city unique. While Londoners have the Royal Family and a nice cup of tea, New Yorkers have huge skyscrapers and the world’s best bagels.

When it comes to theatre, these cities have one thing in common: they both have some of the best shows and talent to offer. That and the fact that you can still see The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, or The Lion King in both New York and London.

Both the West End and Broadway offer world-class live entertainment experiences. Learn more about the differences between the West End and Broadway below.

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Where are West End and Broadway theatres?

The West End in London is a geographical area of central London. The West End is bordered by Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden.

Broadway is the theatre district in New York City situated along a street also named Broadway.

West End theatres in London

The first West End theatre — the Theatre Royal Drury Lane — opened in 1663. There are 40 West End theatres in London. Find out more about West End theatres.

Broadway theatres in New York

The first Broadway theatres opened between 1903 and 1919. The oldest Broadway theatres include the Hudson Theatre, the Lyceum Theatre, and the New Amsterdam Theatre. There are 41 Broadway theatres in New York.

West End and Broadway theatre attendance

Millions of people visit the West End and Broadway each year. Every night of the week, you can guarantee there's thousands of theatregoers checking out the latest shows and the theatrical stalwarts in each city.

In 2015, 14.7 million people watched a West End show. This dropped slightly to 14 million people in 2016.

In 2015 - 2016, 13.32 million people saw a Broadway show. This dropped slightly to 13.27 million people in 2016 - 2017.

Where to sit in West End and Broadway theatres

While the West End and Broadway theatres may look similar on the inside, the seating arrangements are named differently.

In the West End, we call the lowest seating section the "stalls", but on Broadway, this section is named the "orchestra." We call the second level of a West End theatre the "circle", but on Broadway, this section is named the "mezzanine."

Broadway shows in London

Did you know that you can see a Broadway show in London? Some Broadway shows that began in New York are now playing in London's West End. Broadway shows in London include Moulin Rouge! The Musical and The Book of Mormon. Check out all the Broadway shows in London.

Originally published on

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