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The MTA Is ‘The Only Sure Way to Make It to Broadway’

Updated November 9, 2021 7:30 p.m.

MTA, RPM Re-Create Iconic Ad From 1977 

Reboot Part of MTA’s ‘Welcome Back New York’ Campaign Touting the Benefits of Public Transportation

View Behind the Scenes Video of the Ad Re-creation

View Video of Today’s News Conference

View Photos from Behind the Scenes of the Ad Re-Creation and Today’s News Conference

View The 1977 and 2021 Ad 


In 1977, stars from critically acclaimed Broadway shows gathered onboard a New York City subway car to take what would become an iconic photo, appearing with the tag line “The Only Sure Way to Make It to Broadway.” Forty-four years later, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Broadway advertising agency RPM collaborated to re-create this photo to welcome new generations of people back to the New York City and all it has to offer, especially Broadway.

The re-creation of that advertisement features notable characters from a variety of Broadway’s top shows and is part of the Authority’s “Welcome Back New York” campaign. The overarching campaign, which launched in September, highlights the benefits of mass transit as New Yorkers return to work and school. The campaign includes a range of specific initiatives to entice riders to come back to the system, including attending Broadway shows.

“New York City has changed quite a bit since 1977. What hasn’t changed is the subway being the fastest way to move throughout the five boroughs---and the surest way to get to Broadway,” said Janno Lieber, MTA Acting Chair and CEO. “New Yorkers are smart; they know the most efficient way to get to the theater, and really anywhere in the city, is by taking the subway. Save the money and headache of driving, let us get you there, and enjoy the show.”

“It’s never been a better time to visit Broadway and we are thrilled to offer exclusive ticket discounts to our customers,” said Sarah Meyer, MTA Chief Customer Officer. “Visit our new website at MTAAway.com for more details and transportation planning!”

RPM Advertising Managing Partner Nick Pramik said, "It’s been such a joy to bring together shows from across Broadway to recreate this iconic campaign. It’s not often that casts from different shows get to interact with each other, and it’s evident from the photo how special an opportunity this was. Throughout the pandemic we said, “we’re all in this together”, and that’s still as true as ever. The MTA is best way to get to Broadway, and what’s good for Broadway is good for New York. We’re all in this together.”

Customers who purchase their tickets through MTAaway.com can save on the following shows:

  • Chicago- Save $25 on tickets 
  • Waitress- Save up to $60 on select seats thru Dec. 23 
  • Doubtfire- Come see Mrs. Doubtfire for as low as $49! 
  • The Phantom of the Opera- Orchestra Tickets start at $49 for performances through February 2022

Customers have a variety of public transportation options beyond the subway to take them to Broadway shows including Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and buses. In addition to show savings available through MTAaway.com, anyone traveling into Midtown Manhattan can also get deals at Times Square restaurants and bars. Off-peak fares on the Long Island Rail Road and on Metro-North Railroad will be in effect through Dec. 31, 2021. Commuter rail customers using single-ride trips and ten-trip tickets can benefit from savings up to nearly 40% of the normal price depending on distance traveled.

Broadway’s lights went back on in September, and according to The Broadway League, nearly 60% of New Yorkers arrive at theaters by taking the subway.

“We are always happy to remind New Yorkers that the subway is the most convenient way to get to the theatre district,” said Charlotte St. Martin, Broadway League President. “For as long as Broadway has been Broadway, the subway has been the subway. The MTA is a vital partner to our community, making sure theatregoers get to their show safely and on time.”

“One of the great things about New York is when you do get on those subway cars, you know that you’re surrounded by the people that make Broadway happen,” said Tony Award nominated actor Rob McClure who stars in Mrs. Doubtfire. “And know that if you have faith in the MTA and coming to Broadway, we are taking your safety very, very seriously. We’re all tested all the time. The safety protocols at the theaters are ensuring your safety and our safety. So, be brave, come visit.”

“Being a part of the original poster for the MTA to celebrate Broadway was amazing. Being in a subway car with all of these great actors was so much fun,” said Melody Meitrott Libonati, who starred as Sandy in Grease (1977). “This classic poster hangs in Summer Theatre of New Canaan, Conn., where I am the Artistic Director and in the Performing Arts Conservatory that I founded and teach musical theatre and remains a fun history lesson for adults and students to identify the Broadway actors and shows of that era.”

“It was so exciting to be included in such an iconic photo with so many great actors, celebrating the relationship Broadway has with the subway,” said Alan LeBoeuf, who starred as Paul McCartney in Beatlemania (1977). “To be able to comeback 44 years later with someone I shared that experience with and see the photo re-created is truly special.”

The following actors appeared in the 2021 and 1977 editions of the ad:

2021 Version 

Waitress - Maiesha McQueen and Stephanie Torns 

SIX - Adrianna Hicks and Andrea Macasaet 

Moulin Rouge! - Danny Burstein and Bahiyah Hibah 

The Phantom of the Opera - Julia Udine and Paul A. Schaefer 
Mrs. Doubtfire- Rob McClure and Avery Sell

Dear Evan Hansen - Jordan Fisher  

Chicago - Arian Keddell and Mary Claire King

1977 Version 

Timbuktu! - Melba Moore and Eartha Kitt 

Beatlemania - Alan LeBoeuf 

Grease - Melody Meitrott Libonati and Greg Zadikov 

Hello, Dolly! - Carol Channing 

The Magic Show - Joseph Abaldo 

Same Time, Next Year - Monte Markham 

Cold Storage - Martin Balsam and Ruth Rivera 

Annie - Reid Shelton  

The Wiz - Stephanie Mills and Ted Ross 

About RPM 

RPM is a full-service, 360° advertising and marketing agency tailored for live entertainment and experiences, with an emphasis on Broadway and National Tours.

About The Broadway League

The Broadway League is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. Its 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers in North American cities, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the commercial theatre industry. Each year, League members bring Broadway to more than 30 million people in New York and more than 200 cities across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.broadwayleague.com.