44 LONG STREET, CAPE TOWN
TEL. 021 424 1194/5 or 021 426 6666
On Broadway, owned by Russell Shapiro, opened in May 1997. Over 120 productions were staged in the original venue situated in Somerset Road, Green Point. These productions represented a wide range of genres including cabaret, satire, comedy, classical music, classical, modern and Spanish dance and large musical productions. Given this variety, a broad spectrum of the public has been exposed to the On Broadway experience. As lovers of one particular genre became confident that productions staged at the venue were of a particular uncompromising standard, so they ventured to explore shows of different genres. As a result, On Broadway has established what it refers to as a “built in audience” – people who come regularly regardless of the type of show. This built in audience has given the venue the stability to survive and grow in a market where many others have failed, and we know them as the “On Broadway family”.
On Broadway has won the public’s confidence largely by featuring most of South Africa's top cabaret and performing artists on its stage. These include artists like Pieter-Dirk Uys, Elzabe Zietsman, Marc Lottering, Cokey Falkow, Kurt Schoonraad, Nik Rabinowitz, Mark Palmer, Stuart Taylor, Zolani Mahola, Dowwe Dolla, Amanda Strydom, Alistair Izobell, Irit Noble, Stella Magaba, Amanda Tiffin, and many artistes who were part of Pop Idols, Zing or Popstars including Ezra, Francisca Blasich, Chad Saaiman, Mlamli Ningiza and Francois Lliam. Many of these artistes would never have made it as far as they have without the platform that On Broadway provided them with.
On Broadway is forging ahead with it’s programme of developmental work. The first project was Oh What A Night, a musical tribute to boy bands with a cast of seven including a live band. Only three of the cast members had previous theatre performance experience on the scale required by this production. Ezra of Pop Idols fame started his career on our stage in this production. Productions since then include Can’t Stop the Music (a tribute to the Village People), 3 Tons of Fun, Pure Disco (featuring amongst others Francisca Blasich of Pop Idols 2003 fame) and Soul’d Out.
On Broadway’s shows are rapidly becoming recognised world-wide. The initial concept of On Broadway was basic - a simple cabaret restaurant offering an optional meal and an entertaining show. As the popularity of the venue grew and as the profile heightened, it was obvious that the need for such a venue was as great as the need for an affordable and enjoyable evening of entertainment.
Not only do artistes of such high calibre give the venue credibility, they also increase the value of entertainment in Cape Town. Most of these artists have returned for second visits, while some have asked for regular annual slots in our programme.
In 2005 we decided that it was time to move, to get away from all the clubs surrounding our old premises, so we found new premises in Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, where On Broadway was housed from May 2005 to May 2010. Over this period more than 80 productions were staged at the venue.
Over the years, On Broadway has cultivated an excellent working relationship with the media, including daily, weekly and community newspapers, national monthly glossy magazines, local radio stations and television channels. The media are most supportive of the venue and the artistes and show this regularly in pre-show publicity, reviews and interviews. For On Broadway, the biggest compliment is that many highly respected journalists, editors and media people frequent the venue in their unofficial capacities.
In May of this year we decided that it was time for another change, as we believe that we have to keep up with changing trends. We discovered that the NewSpace Theatre premises on Long Street were ‘up for grabs’, our lease in Shortmarket Street was due for renewal and we jumped at the opportunity to change a little and expand. In Green Point we seated 120, in Shortmarket Street we seated 150 and in our plush new venue we can seat up to 200 people in the theatre.
The idea of On Broadway has always been ‘your one-stop entertainment zone’. This idea remains firmly in place but with added advantages in our new home. The restaurant and theatre run as two separate entities, enabling patrons to choose between dinner and theatre, just dinner or just theatre. It also gives the patrons the opportunity to enjoy their favourite On Broadway meals at lunchtime and to enjoy our delicious new breakfast menu. Our menu has always retained the good old favourites and with the move we have been able to add some additional delicacies. Patrons now have a choice between three restaurants within the theatre complex. Our restaurant is on the ground floor and the theatre is on the first floor.
On Broadway operates on a nightly basis with both owners in hands-on positions, a full-time manager, receptionist, sound engineer, lighting operator, chef, full compliment of kitchen staff, casual waitering staff, and publicist. All staff are trained, qualified and encouraged and expected to deliver the best possible service and product. Most of our staff have been with us for many years and have moved from one premise to the other, and this we believe is our core advantage, that we employ staff who are passionate about our venue and our patrons.
On Broadway is one of Cape Town's success stories rising from an after-hours world of fickle revellers constantly seeking that "new" and "in" place to see and be seen. As a relaxed and attitude-free zone, it fortunately has not succumbed to this notorious Capetonian trait, as many venues have.
The future of On Broadway is reliant on the venue continuously striving to equal or better the standards it has set for itself in serving the needs of an entertainment and culture craving society and to live up to the adopted slogan: "Cape Town's official entertainment headquarters and show zone".