Off-Broadway productions have fascinated millions of theatre lovers from around the world for over half a century now. The famous New York City based theatres have produced breathtaking shows from revue to musical to plays. The Off-Broadway movement initially started during the 1950s in revolt to the perceived commercialism of Broadway. It provided an escape and a safe haven to a newer, creative breed of directors, actors and professionals, allowing them to experiment their creativity without the pressures of commercialism and mainstream methodologies. This resulted in a new wave of theatre that produced some of the greatest theatrical hits of the past decades.
Earlier, a theatre was not considered to be Off-Broadway if it was located within the Broadway Box that extended from east of Eighth Avenue to west of Sixth Avenue, including Time Square as well as 40th to 54th Street. However, the methodology of categorizing a theatre as Off-Broadway changed; classifying Off-Broadway theatres according to certain standards such as the size of the theatre. Now, professional theatre venues located in New York City with a capacity of 100 to 499 seats are classified as Off-Broadway theatre and are generally smaller than Broadway Theatres. Normally, theatrical productions appearing at such venues are considered to be Off-Broadway productions.
Famous Off-Broadway Productions & Theatres
Over the years, several Off-Broadway productions have been praised for their performing art standards. 1954's ‘Threepenny Opera' is still considered to be the first great Off-Broadway show. After the success of the musical production, several Off-Broadway productions have earned audience's respect such as ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee', ‘Avenue Q', ‘Grey Gardens', ‘Little Shop of Horrors', ‘Godspell' and ‘Hair'.
Productions like ‘Naked Boy Singing', ‘Altar Boyz', ‘Blue Man Group' and ‘Stomp' have all been performed on Off-Broadway for several years. Many successful productions have been moved to Broadway stages such as the ‘Coastal Disturbances', ‘The Normal Heart', ‘I Am My Own Wife' and ‘Doubt'. The longest running musical in the history of theatre, ‘The Fantasticks', was originally an Off-Broadway show, spending 42 years on Off-Broadway stages.
Some popular Off-Broadway Theatres include Union Square Theatre, Soho Repertory Center, Orpheum Theatre, Lucille Lortel Theatre, The Duke on 42nd Street, Barrow Street Theater and Acorn Theatre.
All Off-Broadway productions are eligible for various prestigious awards such as Drama League Awards, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards and New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Other celebrated awards include Drama Desk Awards and the Outer Circle Critics Awards.
The Live Experience
Off-Broadways have become a hub of theatre lovers who like to witness riveting plots, captivating performances and truly innovative style of storytelling. The theatres provide an intimate setting of limited audiences, offering a comfortable and highly engaging experience for all viewers.
This season, Off-Broadway will be presenting highly exciting theatrical productions like ‘The Great Society', ‘Potted Potter', ‘My Name is Asher Lev', ‘Perfect Crime' and ‘The Gazillion Bubble Show'. Other top productions running on Off-Broadway this year will include ‘Tennessee Williams The Two Character Play', ‘Avenue Q' and ‘Old Jews Telling Jokes'. Every season thousands of Off Broadway tickets run out as soon as they are available. So make sure to book your seat at the next staging of your favorite show and experience the magic of New York's finest theatre.