Go Behind the Scenes with Broadway Up Close Walking Tours

Actor/entrepreneur Tim Dolan is blowing the lid off Broadway’s deepest, quirkiest, most surreal secrets...and he’s willing to share them with anyone with a comfy pair of walking shoes and a willingness to explore the underbelly of the world’s most famous theatre district. In under two hours, Dolan chronicles theatrical pioneers—good, bad, ugly, and just plain weird, along with backstage legends involving ghosts and phantoms; architectural oddities (some still in existence); and loads of gossipy tidbits starring celebs from decades past and present.

broadway up close walking tours

Image: Sascha Reinking Photography.

Over a decade ago, after plunging headlong into 100 years of Broadway history and lore, Dolan established Broadway Up Close Walking Tours. Since then, these mini-adventures have exploded in demand, and Dolan’s stable of theatre professionals/licensed tour guides – a.k.a. The Green Team thanks to their vibrant, easy-to-spot T-shirts – are skilled raconteurs bringing both retro and recent theatrical scuttlebutt to eye-opening life.

“I established stories that we’ve dug up that help illuminate the Broadway Theater District fully. The same highlights and stops are presented on every tour, regardless of the tour guide,” explains Dolan, adding that what makes each tour guide unique is his or her personal acting stories and mishaps.

“Our BUC team is comprised of working actors and stage managers,” continues Dolan. “Working with different audiences in each and every show we do is the perfect preparation for our ‘one person shows’ on the sidewalks of NYC!”

In fact, as a theatre writer and editor I thought I was pretty savvy about all things Broadway before I signed on for Broadway Up Close Act I. (FYI, several other tours, both in-person and virtual, are also in BUC’s mind-blowing options.) I confess, as we navigated 42nd Street and neighboring venues, I was humbled—albeit highly entertained. And today, thanks to that one outing with Dolan and his iPad teeming with vintage photos of Broadway gone-by, I am a far more authoritative theatrical smarty-pants than I ever thought possible.

Always on the lookout for unique and intriguing options, Dolan recently added a visit to the historic Hudson Theatre—Broadway’s oldest surviving theatre—to the mix. Located on West 44th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, the Hudson wore a fascinating number of hats before reclaiming its Broadway theatre status in 2017. Strongly recommended.

Since its inception, the BUC universe has grown, reaping over 1,350 5-star Tripadvisor reviews, as well as the site's Certificate of Excellence (2012-2021).

Beginning in April of 2019, Dolan and company showcased their Broadway Gift Shop in Times Square. Here, a staggering collection of Broadway-centric items/souvenirs—designed by the Green Team and created by hand in their Herald Square production center (“by theatre-doers for theatre-lovers!”)—are available for purchase. As the BUC website notes: “Our mission is to highlight the 41 Broadway marquees in creative, whimsical, one-of-a-kind mementos that will capture the spirit and joy of the Theater District.”

tour guides broadway up close nyc

Image: Sascha Reinking Photography.

About the Author

City Guide Theatre Editor Griffin Miller moved to New York to pursue an acting/writing career in the 1980s after graduating magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, she has written for The New York Times, For the Bride, Hotels, and a number of other publications, mostly in the areas of travel and performance arts. An active member of The New York Travel Writers Association, she is also a playwright and award-winning collage artist. In addition, she sits on the board of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Griffin is married to Richard Sandomir, a reporter for The New York Times.

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