Back in the 1950s, a new generation of producers and artists found the commercialism of “traditional Broadway” creatively limiting. Many took their productions to smaller venues outside the Theatre District, giving birth to the Off Broadway movement. Less concerned with the pressure to make “big bucks”, Off Broadway folks were free to push the creative envelope – experimenting in ways that make Broadway’s number-crunchers cringe. The result has often been high risk, high reward. Hair, Godspell, Little Shop of Horrors, A Chorus Line, Blue Man Group, Doubt, Urinetown and Rent are all shining examples of Off Broadway’s creative chops. Many have gone on to have successful runs on Broadway. An interesting tidbit: The longest running musical ever was the Off Broadway production of The Fantasticks, which played for 42 years. And by the way, Off Broadway is a lot easier on your pocketbook. Keep up with the latest Off Broadway happenings.
Following is a partial list of Manhattan’s Off Broadway theatres. (You’ll note that some Â are actually in the Theatre District, but are considered Off Broadway because of their smaller seating capacity – 100 to 499 seats):
The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St.
Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, 248 West 60th St.
New World Stages, 340 West 50th St.
Webster Hall, 125 East 11th St.
The Marjorie S. Deane Theater, 5 West 63rd St.
Action Temple Theater, 339 West 47th St.
Astor Place Theater, 424 Lafayette St.
Lucille Lortel Theater, 121 Christopher St.
St. Luke’s Theater, 308 West 46th St.