An Off-Broadway theatre is any professional venue in Manhattan in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499, inclusive. These theatres are smaller than Broadway theatres, but larger than Off-Off-Broadway theatres, which seat fewer than 100.
An "Off-Broadway production" is a production of a play, musical, or revue that appears in such a venue and adheres to related trade union and other contracts. Shows that premiere Off-Broadway are sometimes subsequently produced on Broadway.
Originally referring to the location of a venue and its productions on a street intersecting Broadway in Manhattan's Theater District, the hub of the theatre industry in New York, the term later became defined by the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers as a professional venue in Manhattan with a seating capacity between 100 and 499 (inclusive) or a specific production that appears in such a venue and adheres to related trade union and other contracts.
Previously, regardless of the size of the venue, a theatre was considered a Broadway (rather than Off-Broadway) house if it was within the "Broadway Box", extending from 40th north to 54th Street and from Sixth Avenue west to Eighth Avenue, including Times Square and West 42nd Street. This change to the contractual definition of "Off-Broadway" benefited theatres satisfying the 499-seat criterion because of the lower minimum required salary for Actors' Equity performers at Off-Broadway theatres as compared with the salary requirements of the union for Broadway theatres. The adoption of the 499-seat criterion occurred after a one-day strike in January 1974. Examples of Off-Broadway theatres within the Broadway Box are the Laura Pels Theatre and The Theater Center.
The Off-Broadway movement started in the 1950s as a reaction to the perceived commercialism of Broadway and provided less expensive venues for shows that have employed many future Broadway artists. An early success was Circle in the Square Theatre's 1952 production of Summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams. According to theatre historians Ken Bloom and Frank Vlastnik, Off-Broadway offered a new outlet for "poets, playwrights, actors, songwriters, and designers. ... The first great Off-Broadway musical was the 1954 revival" of The Threepenny Opera, which proved that Off-Broadway productions could be financially successful. Theatre Row, on West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues in Manhattan, is a concentration of Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theatres. It was developed in the mid-1970s and modernized in 2002.
Many Off-Broadway shows have had subsequent runs on Broadway, including such successful musicals as Hair, Godspell, Little Shop of Horrors, Sunday in the Park with George, Rent, Grey Gardens, Urinetown, Avenue Q, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Rock of Ages, In the Heights, Spring Awakening, Next to Normal, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Fun Home, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. In particular, two that became Broadway hits, Grease and A Chorus Line, encouraged other producers to premiere their shows Off-Broadway. Plays that have moved from Off-Broadway houses to Broadway include Doubt, I Am My Own Wife, Bridge & Tunnel, The Normal Heart, and Coastal Disturbances. Other productions, such as Stomp, Blue Man Group, Altar Boyz, Perfect Crime, Forbidden Broadway, Nunsense, Naked Boys Singing, Bat Boy: The Musical, and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change have had runs of many years Off-Broadway, never moving to Broadway. The Fantasticks, the longest-running musical in theatre history, spent its original 42-year run Off-Broadway and began another long Off-Broadway run in 2006.
Off-Broadway shows, performers, and creative staff are eligible for the following awards: the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Obie Award (presented since 1956 by The Village Voice), the Lucille Lortel Award (created in 1985 by the League of Off-Broadway Theatres & Producers), and the Drama League Award. Although Off-Broadway shows are not eligible for Tony Awards, an exception was made in 1956 (before the rules were changed), when Lotte Lenya won Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for the Off-Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera.
Capacity is based on the capacity given for the respective theatre at the Internet Off-Broadway Database.
|New World Stages, Stage 1||W. 50th St. (No. 340)||499|
|New World Stages, Stage 5||W. 50th St. (No. 340)||199|
|New World Stages, Stage 2||W. 50th St. (No. 340)||350|
|New World Stages, Stage 3||W. 50th St. (No. 340)||499|
|New World Stages, Stage 4||W. 50th St. (No. 340)||350|
|59E59 Theaters, Theatre A||E. 59th St. (No. 59)||196|
|Acorn Theatre||W. 42nd St. (No. 410)||199|
|Irene Diamond Stage, Signature Theatre||W. 42nd St. (No. 480)||294|
|Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre||W. 42nd St. (No. 480)||191|
|Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre||W. 42nd St. (No. 480)||191|
|Playwrights Horizons Mainstage||W. 42nd St. (No. 416)||198|
|Peter Jay Sharp Theatre||W. 42nd St. (No. 416)||128|
|Stage 42||W. 42nd St. (No. 422)||499|
|St. Luke's Theatre||W. 46th St. (No. 308)||178|
|York Theatre||Lexington Ave. (No. 619)||161|
|Lucille Lortel Theatre||Christopher St. (No. 121)||299|
|The Duke on 42nd Street||W. 42nd St. (No. 229)||199|
|New Victory Theater||W. 42nd St. (No. 209)||499|
|Tony Kiser Theatre||W. 43rd St. (No. 305)||296|
|McGinn/Cazale Theatre||Broadway (No. 2162)||108|
|Westside Theatre, Upstairs Theatre||W. 43rd St. (No. 407)||270|
|Westside Theatre, Downstairs Theatre||W. 43rd St. (No. 407)||249|
|Davenport Theatre Mainstage||W. 45th St. (No. 354)||149|
|Vineyard Theatre||E. 15th St. (No. 108)||132|
|Triad Theatre||W. 72nd St. (No. 158)||130|
|Laura Pels Theatre||W. 46th St. (No. 111)||425|
|Jerry Orbach Theater||W. 50th St. (No. 210)||199|
|Anne L. Bernstein Theater||W. 50th St. (No. 210)||199|
|SoHo Playhouse||Vandam St. (No. 15)||178|
|Orpheum Theatre||Second Ave. (No. 126)||347|
|Minetta Lane Theatre||Minetta Lane (No. 18)||391|
|New York Theatre Workshop, Theatre 79||E. 4th St. (No. 79)||199|
|Claire Tow Theater||W. 65th St. (No. 150)||112|
|Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater||W. 65th St. (No. 150)||299|
|New York City Center Stage I||W. 55th St. (No. 131)||300|
|New York City Center Stage II||W. 55th St. (No. 131)||150|
|Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater||W. 63rd St. (No. 5)||145|
|Linda Gross Theatre||W. 20th St. (No. 336)||199|
|Irish Repertory Theatre||W. 22nd St. (No. 132)||148|
|Gramercy Arts Theatre||E. 27th St. (No. 138)||140|
|Classic Stage Company||E. 13th St. (No. 136)||199|
|Cherry Lane Theatre||Commerce St. (No. 38)||179|
|Jerome Robbins Theatre||W. 37th St. (No. 450)||238|
|Barrow Street Theatre||Barrow St. (No. 27)||199|
|Astor Place Theatre||Lafayette St. (No. 434)||298|
|Actors Temple Theatre||W. 47th St. (No. 339)||199|
|47th Street Theatre||W. 47th St. (No. 304)||196|
|Daryl Roth Theatre||E. 15th St. (No. 101)||299|
|Lynn Redgrave Theatre||Bleecker St. (No. 45)||199|
|Elektra Theatre||W. 43rd St. (No. 300)||199|
|777 Theatre||8th Ave. (No. 777)||158|
|John Cullum Theatre||W. 54th St. (No. 314)||140|
|Manhattan Movement & Arts Center||W. 60th St. (No. 248)||180|
|Players Theatre||MacDougal St. (No. 115)||248|
|Theatre 80 St. Mark's||St. Mark's Place (No. 80)||160|
|Theatre at St. Clement's Church||W. 46th St. (No. 423)||151|
|The Gym at Judson||Thompson St. (No. 243)||200|
|LuEsther Theatre||Lafayette St. (No. 425)||160|
|Martinson Theatre||Lafayette St. (No. 425)||199|
|Newman Theatre||Lafayette St. (No. 425)||299|
|Anspacher Theatre||Lafayette St. (No. 425)||275|
|Abrons Arts Center, Playhouse Theatre||Grand St. (No. 466)||300|
No matter what else you may have heard, the distinction is mainly one of contracts. There are so many theatres of so many different sizes served by so many different unions in New York that this three-tiered Broadway/Off-Broadway/Off-Off-Broadway system evolved to determine who would get paid what. ... Most "Broadway" theatres are not on Broadway, the street. A few theatres on Broadway, the street, are considered "Off-Broadway."
Dear Evan Hansen is a stage musical with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and book by Steven Levenson.The musical opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre in December 2016, after its world premiere at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. in July 2015 and an Off-Broadway production at Second Stage Theatre in March to May 2016.
At the 71st Tony Awards, it was nominated for nine awards, winning six, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Actor in a Musical for Ben Platt, and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Rachel Bay Jones.Drama Desk Award
The Drama Desk Awards are presented annually and were first awarded in 1955 to recognize excellence in New York theatre productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway. Broadway productions were excluded until the 1968–69 award season. The awards are considered a significant American theatre distinction.Fun Home (musical)
Fun Home is a musical adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir of the same name. The story concerns Bechdel's discovery of her own sexuality, her relationship with her gay father, and her attempts to unlock the mysteries surrounding his life. It is the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist. It is told in a series of non-linear vignettes connected by narration provided by the adult Alison character.
The musical was developed through several readings and performances, including at the Ojai Playwrights Conference in 2009 and at the Sundance Theatre Lab and The Public Theater's Public Lab in 2012. It opened Off-Broadway at the Public Theater in September 2013 to positive reviews. Its run was extended several times, until January 2014. The Public Theater production of Fun Home was nominated for nine Lucille Lortel Awards (winning three, including Outstanding Musical), two Obie Awards and eight Drama Desk Awards, among others.
The original Broadway production began previews at the Circle in the Square Theatre in March 2015 and opened in April 2015. It was nominated for twelve Tony Awards, winning five, including Best Musical, and its cast album received a nomination for the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. The production closed on September 10, 2016. A US national tour and foreign productions followed.GLAAD Media Award
The GLAAD Media Award is an accolade bestowed by the GLAAD to recognize and honor various branches of the media for their outstanding representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and the issues that affect their lives. In addition to film and television, the Awards also recognize achievements in other branches of the media and arts, including theatre, music, journalism and advertising.Honorees are selected by a process involving over 700 GLAAD Media Award voters and volunteers and are evaluated using four criteria: "Fair, Accurate and Inclusive Representations" of the LGBT community, "Boldness and Originality" of the project, significant "Cultural Impact" on mainstream culture, and "Overall Quality" of the project. Results are then certified by a "Review Panel" who determine the final list of recipients based on voting results and their own "expert opinions".The 1st GLAAD Media Awards ceremony honoring the 1989 season was held in 1990, and recognized 34 nominees in 7 competitive categories.Godspell
Godspell is a musical composed by Stephen Schwartz with the book by John-Michael Tebelak. The show opened off-Broadway on May 17, 1971, and has since been produced by multiple touring companies and in many revivals. The 2011 revival played on Broadway from October 13, 2011 through June 24, 2012.
The musical is structured as a series of parables, primarily based on the Gospel of Matthew. However, four of the featured parables are only recorded in the Gospel of Luke, and the narrative of the woman taken in adultery is only in the Gospel of John. The parables are interspersed with music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns, with the passion of Christ appearing briefly near the end of the show.
Godspell began as a project by the drama students at Carnegie Mellon University, then moved to the off-off-Broadway theater La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in the East Village of Manhattan. The show was then re-scored for an off-Broadway production, which became a long-running success. An abbreviated one-act version of the musical has been produced under the title Godspell Junior.Several cast albums have been released over the years. "Day by Day", from the original cast album, reached #13 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the summer of 1972.Hamilton (musical)
Hamilton: An American Musical is a sung-and-rapped through musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow. Incorporating hip hop, R&B, pop, soul, traditional-style show tunes, and color-conscious casting of non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures, the musical achieved both critical acclaim and box office success.
The musical made its Off-Broadway debut at The Public Theater in February 2015, where its engagement was sold out. The show transferred to Broadway in August 2015 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. On Broadway, it received enthusiastic critical reception and unprecedented advance box office sales. In 2016, Hamilton received a record-setting 16 Tony nominations, winning 11, including Best Musical, and was also the recipient of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The prior Off-Broadway production of Hamilton won the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical as well as seven other Drama Desk Awards out of 14 total nominated categories.
The Chicago production of Hamilton began preview performances at the CIBC Theatre in September 2016 and officially opened the following month. The West End production of Hamilton opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London in December 2017, winning seven Olivier Awards in 2018, including Best New Musical. The first U.S. national tour of the show began performances in March 2017. A second U.S. tour opened in February 2018. Hamilton's third U.S. tour began January 11, 2019, with a 3-week engagement in Puerto Rico featuring Miranda in the lead role.In the Heights
In the Heights is a musical with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The story is set over the course of three days, involving characters in the largely Hispanic-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City.
After a 2005 tryout in Waterford, Connecticut and a 2007 Off-Broadway run, the show opened on Broadway in March 2008. It was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards and won four, including the 2008 Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Choreography awards. A film adaptation of the musical is set for release in Summer 2020.Little Shop of Horrors (musical)
Little Shop of Horrors is a horror comedy rock musical with music by Alan Menken and lyrics and a book by Howard Ashman. The story follows a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. The musical is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors. The music, composed by Menken in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, "Skid Row (Downtown)", "Somewhere That's Green", and "Suddenly, Seymour".
The musical premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1982 before moving to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway, where it had a five-year run. It later received numerous productions in the U.S. and abroad, and a subsequent Broadway production. Because of its small cast and relatively simple orchestrations, it has become popular with community theatre, school and other amateur groups. The musical was also made into a 1986 film of the same name, directed by Frank Oz.Lortel Archives
The Lortel Archives, or the Internet Off-Broadway Database (IOBDb), is an online database that catalogues theatre productions shown Off-Broadway.
The archives are named in honor of actress and theatrical producer Lucille Lortel.Lucille Lortel Awards
The Lucille Lortel Awards recognize excellence in New York Off-Broadway theatre. The Awards are named for Lucille Lortel, an actress and theater producer, and have been awarded since 1986. They are produced by the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers by special arrangement with the Lucille Lortel Foundation, with additional support from the Theatre Development Fund.Other awards for off-Broadway theatre include the Obie Award, the Drama Desk Awards, the Drama League Award, the Outer Critics Circle Awards and the Henry Hewes Design Awards presented by the American Theatre Wing.Manhattan Theatre Club
Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) is a theatre company located in New York City, affiliated with the League of Resident Theatres. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, Manhattan Theatre Club has grown since its founding in 1970 from an Off-Off Broadway showcase into one of the country's most acclaimed theatre organizations.
MTC's many awards include 19 Tony Awards, six Pulitzer Prizes, 48 Obie Awards and 32 Drama Desk Awards, as well as numerous Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards. MTC has won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Achievement, a Drama Desk for Outstanding Excellence, and a Theatre World for Outstanding Achievement.MTC produces plays and musicals on and off-Broadway.Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane (born Joseph Lane; February 3, 1956) is an American actor and writer. He has played the roles of Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in MouseHunt, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, and Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. His voice work includes The Lion King as Timon and Stuart Little as Snowbell, and has played recurring roles on Modern Family, The Good Wife, and The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story as F. Lee Bailey.
He has received three Tony Awards: he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Producers and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Angels in America, as well as six Drama Desk awards, six Outer Critics Circle awards, two Obies, the Lucille Lortel Award and the Olivier Award. He has also received two Golden Globe nominations, six Primetime Emmy nominations, a Screen Actors Guild Award, two Daytime Emmy Awards, and a People's Choice Award. In 2006, Lane received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2008, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.Obie Award
The Obie Awards or Off-Broadway Theater Awards are annual awards originally given by The Village Voice newspaper to theatre artists and groups in New York City. In September 2014, the awards were jointly presented and administered with the American Theatre Wing. As the Tony Awards cover Broadway productions, the Obie Awards cover Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions.Off-Off-Broadway
Off-Off-Broadway refers to theatrical productions in New York City that began as part of an anti-commercial and experimental or avant-garde movement of drama and theatre. Off-Off-Broadway theatres are smaller than Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres, and usually have fewer than 100 seats, though the term is sometimes applied to any show in the New York City area that employs union actors but is not under an Off-Broadway, Broadway, or League of Resident Theatres contract. It is also often used in connection with shows that employ non-union actors.Playwrights Horizons
Playwrights Horizons is a not-for-profit Off-Broadway theater located in New York City dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers, and lyricists, and to the production of their new work.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Tim Sanford and Managing Director Leslie Marcus, Playwrights Horizons continues to encourage the new work of veteran writers while nurturing an emerging generation of theater artists. Writers are supported through every stage of their growth with a series of development programs: script and score evaluations, commissions, readings, musical theater workshops, Studio and Mainstage productions.
Playwrights Horizons was founded in 1971 at the Clark Center Y by Robert Moss, before moving to 42nd Street in 1977 where it was one of the original theatres that started Theater Row by converting adult entertainment venues into off Broadway theatres. The current building was built on the site of a former burlesque.
André Bishop served as Artistic Director from 1981 to 1991, followed by Don Scardino who served through 1995.
Playwrights Horizons' auxiliary programs include the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, which is affiliated with NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and Ticket Central, a central box office that supports the off-Broadway performing arts community.
In its 43 years, Playwrights Horizons has worked with over 375 writers and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In 2005, it was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.Rent (musical)
Rent is a rock musical with music, lyrics, and book by Jonathan Larson, loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in Lower Manhattan's East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
The musical was first seen in a workshop production at New York Theatre Workshop in 1993. This same Off-Broadway theatre was also the musical's initial home following its official 1996 opening. The show's creator, Jonathan Larson, died suddenly of an aortic dissection, believed to have been caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome, the night before the Off-Broadway premiere. The musical moved to Broadway's larger Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996.On Broadway, Rent gained critical acclaim and won several awards. The Broadway production closed on September 7, 2008, after a 12-year run of 5,123 performances. On February 14, 2016, the musical Wicked surpassed Rent's number of performances with a 2pm matinee, pushing Rent from the tenth- to eleventh-longest-running Broadway show. The production grossed over $280 million.The success of the show led to several national tours and numerous foreign productions. In 2005, it was adapted into a motion picture featuring most of the original cast members.The Band's Visit (musical)
The Band’s Visit is a stage musical with music and lyrics by David Yazbek and a book by Itamar Moses, based on the 2007 Israeli film of the same name. The musical opened on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in November 2017, after its off-Broadway premiere at the Atlantic Theater Company in December 2016.
The Band's Visit has received critical acclaim. Its off-Broadway production won several major awards, including the 2017 Obie Award for Musical Theatre, as well the year's New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. At the 72nd Tony Awards, it was nominated for 11 awards and won 10, including Best Musical. The Band's Visit is one of four musicals in Broadway history to win the unofficial "Big Six" Tony Awards, which include Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical. It won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.The Fantasticks
The Fantasticks is a 1960 musical with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones. It tells an allegorical story, loosely based on the play The Romancers (Les Romanesques) by Edmond Rostand, concerning two neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud.
The show's original Off-Broadway production ran a total of 42 years (until 2002) and 17,162 performances, making it the world's longest-running musical. The musical was produced by Lore Noto. It was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 1991. The poetic book and breezy, inventive score, including such familiar songs as "Try to Remember", helped make the show durable. Many productions followed, as well as television and film versions. The Fantasticks has become a staple of regional, community and high school productions since its premiere, with approximately 250 new productions each year. It is played with a small cast, two- to three-person orchestra and minimalist set design.
The show was revived off-Broadway from 2006 to 2017. As of 2010, its original investors had earned 240 times their original investments. The musical has played throughout the US and in at least 67 foreign countries.You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a 1967 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, based on the characters created by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in his comic strip Peanuts. The musical has been a popular choice for amateur theatre productions because of its small cast and simple staging.