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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Off Broadway theater is an umbrella term for a defined set of plays, musicals or revues performed in New York City. Originally referring to the location of a venue and its productions on a street intersecting Broadway in Manhattan's Theatre District, the hub of the theater industry in the United States, the term later became defined by the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers as a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 99 and 500, or a specific production that appears in such a venue, and which adheres to related trade union and other contracts.[1]

Previously, regardless of the size of the venue, a theatre could not be considered Off Broadway if it were within the "Broadway Box" (the traditional Broadway Theater District). The contractual definition changed this to encompass theaters meeting the standard, with a higher minimum salary requirement for Actors' Equity performers than for Off Broadway theaters outside the box.[2]

A number of Off Broadway shows have had subsequent runs on Broadway. These have included the musicals A Chorus Line, Rock of Ages, Godspell, Avenue Q, Rent, In The Heights, Spring Awakening, Hair, Grey Gardens, Urinetown: the Musical, Little Shop of Horrors, and Sunday in the Park with George, and the plays Doubt, I Am My Own Wife, Bridge & Tunnel and Coastal Disturbances. Other productions, such as Stomp, Blue Man Group, Altar Boyz, Perfect Crime and Naked Boys Singing have run for several years Off Broadway. The Fantasticks, the longest-running musical in theatre history, spent its original 42-year run Off Broadway.[3]



Off Broadway shows, performers, and creative staff are eligible for nomination for the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Outer Circle Critics Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Obie Award (presented since 1956 by The Village Voice), and the Lucille Lortel Award (created in 1985 by the League of Off Broadway Theatres & Producers). 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 for " Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical," for the Off Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera.[4]

See also


  1. ^ League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers Inc. & The Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers. "Off-Broadway Minimum Basic Agreement" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-12-14.  
  2. ^ "Actors' Equity". Retrieved 2008-09-16.  
  3. ^ Off Broadway Website. "Off Broadway Theatre Information". Retrieved 2007-06-06.  
  4. ^ Threepenny Opera Off Broadway

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