Great White Way

By Deane Barker

Definition: a street brilliantly lighted at night and devoted chiefly to public amusements

The Phillips Avenue Diner in Sioux Falls at night

(Credit: South Dakota Department of Tourism)

Clearly, Broadway in New York City is an example of this. However, I suppose it could apply to any “entertainment district” of a city – even a couple blocks Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls.

Wiktionary just has this for etymology:

So called from its brilliant illumination at night.

Why I Looked It Up

In an article about singer Vanessa Carlton:

Despite never repeating the smash success of her first hit, Carlton continued to record – and even made it the Great White Way as Carole King in the musical “Beautiful.”

Clearly, that’s a geographic metonym for Broadway.

I did find a blog called Great White Way Wisdom with a subtitle that expanded the concept to theater in general:

Broadway, Off-Broadway, The West End and The Bard meets Quirk. Life as I know it- told by those I listen to.

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