The role of music has become increasingly important in Broadway theater. From the early days of theater in America, which quickly established itself in New York City, music has helped to create many successful Broadway productions. Vaudeville music, which was music hall variety entertainment, took root in the late1800s. It then turned into their theatrical revues, stage spectaculars consisting of sketches, dance, and songs with parody and satire in the early 1900s. In the 1900s, talented composers could gain popularity for their theatrical music in a very short period of time. A few such prominent songwriters are Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Due to catchy show tunes and optimum locations in New York City, Broadway musicals are more successful then ever before, and they show no sign of slowing down.
Colonial America did not have a significant theater presence until 1752 when London entrepreneur, William Hallam, sent a company of twelve actors to the colonies with his brother, Lewis, as their manager. They established a theater in Williamsburg, Virginia and opened with The Merchant of Venice and The Anatomist. The company moved to New York in the summer of 1753 and performed ballad-operas such as The Beggar’s Opera and ballad-farces like Damon and Phillida. By the 1840s, P.T. Barnum was operating an entertainment complex in lower Manhattan (Musical theatre). After the Civil War, theater in New York moved from Downtown to Midtown Manhattan where real estate was less expensive. Broadway theater did not arrive in Times Square until the 1920s and 1930s. New York City’s first "long-run" musical was a 50 performance hit called The Elves in 1857. New York runs continued to lag far behind those in London, but Laura Keene's "musical burletta" Seven Sisters in 1860 shattered previous New York records with a run of 253 performances (Musical theatre). The length of runs in the theater changed rapidly around the