Great White Way goes green

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Marquees in New York City's Broadway theater district will go "green" this year as part of a plan to save energy and the environment.

Broadway's "Great White Way," nicknamed for the many marquee and billboard lights that flood the theater district with light, will soon be the "Great Green Way," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater to launch the initiative.

"By this time next year, the lights on Broadway will burn just as bright, but the energy bills and our city's carbon output will be lower," Bloomberg said.

Already, 10 Broadway theaters have changed 10,000 exterior and interior bulbs to more energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs as part of the initiative organized by the mayor, the Broadway League and the National Resources Defense Council.

Broadway theaters plan to do everything from washing their costumes in cold water to producing and disposing of sets in a more environmentally friendly way to lower the theater industry's carbon footprint, organizers said.

Several characters from Broadway shows made cameo appearances in support of the plan to lower carbon emissions.

"Higher... bad! Lower... good!" roared the character "Monster" from the Broadway musical "Young Frankenstein," who appeared with "Avenue Q's" Nicky and "Wicked's" Elphaba.

Broadway shows are a major attraction for visitors to New York City and shows sold 12.27 million tickets in the 2007-2008 season, contributing $5.1 billion to the city's economy and supporting 44,000 local jobs, according to the mayor's office.


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