The first item on many agendas when traveling to New York is a Broadway show, but which theater should you choose? “Broadway” theaters geographically sit between 41st Street and 54th Street and between Sixth Avenue and Eighth Avenue. But seriously, can all of the 100+ theaters in New York fit only in that area?
Of course not. Off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway make up a large portion of the theater community you can experience in New York. Along with geographical area, seating capacity also classifies theaters into different categories. Broadway theaters tend to sit 499+ patrons, off-Broadway house 99-499 seats and off-off-Broadway are usually less than 100. Off-Broadway tickets are generally less expensive, offering a great opportunity to see talented up and coming artists and stars you recognize from TV and film like current off-Broadway stars Zach Braff (“Scrubs,” “Garden State”), Dustin Diamond (“Saved by the Bell”) and Joyce DeWitt (“Three’s Company”).
Regardless of your tastes, you definitely won’t be bored with the current shows off-Broadway. Check out the intergalactic a cappella group Voca People, comedies like Channeling Kevin Spacey, enter the psychoanalytic mind of Dr. Freud in Freud’s Last Session or break out the tissues as Death Takes a Holiday emphasizes the power of love. Transfers between Broadway and off-Broadway are fairly common. Broadway favorite Rentoriginally opened off-Broadway in 1996 and transferred to Broadway after two successful months. The show is now returning off-Broadway this August at the New World Stages with a brand-new production.
Off-off-Broadway also has a wide variety of offerings from burlesque, one-person shows, musicals and even puppetry. The longest running off-off-Broadway production started in 1974 and is still running today! Line is a play focusing on five people as they wait in line. The show has been staged in 25 countries and translated into 35 languages.
On your next trip to New York, don’t forget to check out what’s playing off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway for a truly New York experience. The New York Times always has a great listing of current shows – add it to your favorites!