This Week at the Detroit Film Theatre: “On Broadway”

The documentary “On Broadway” explores how the performing arts — and New York City itself — has evolved over the years. It’s screening this week at the Detroit Film Theatre inside of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM gives you a front-row seat to the latest films playing at the Detroit Film Theatre (DFT).

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Since 1974, DFT director Elliot Wilhelm has curated the films shown in this historic theater inside the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DFT recently kicked off its 2021 fall season. The full schedule, tickets and information about COVID-19 protocols for patrons who are attending can be found via DFT’s website.

Now Showing: “On Broadway” documentary

As audiences return to live theater after an unprecedented absence of 18 months, an all-star cast tells the inside story of the last time Broadway came back from the brink – and in doing so, illustrates a wonderfully colorful and fast-paced history of the Broadway theatrical tradition as well as the ever-evolving face of Times Square itself. 

Listen: DFT director Elliot Wilhelm breaks down the “On Broadway” documentary.

Recounting innovative work, a new attention to inclusion and the often-uneasy balance between art and commerce, theatrical legends including Hugh Jackman, Helen Mirren, Christine Baranski, August Wilson, Viola Davis and Ian McKellen take us behind the scenes of groundbreaking and beloved shows from “Company” to “A Chorus Line” to “Hamilton.”

Archival clips of performances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones and more punctuate this hurly-burly ride through the resilient main street of American show business, all while documenting the birth pains of a brand-new show in rehearsal. 

Completed just prior to the pandemic, the immersive crowds, sights and sounds of “On Broadway” are both a tonic and a wrenching reminder of what’s changed. With New York City — and the world — facing an uncertain path forward, this bracing documentary’s tireless show-biz optimism provides one model of how it might return. (85 minutes)

“On Broadway” documentary is showing Friday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 24 with multiple showtimes. More information via the Detroit Film Theatre’s website.

Detroit Film Theatre director Elliot Wilhelm contributed to this web story.

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  • CultureShift
    Your soundtrack to discovering arts, culture, food, music and the latest local events worth your time throughout metro Detroit.