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Most people know about Broadway shows. But what is an Off-Broadway show?
Broadway theaters have a rich historical and cultural history and survived the test of time. However, Broadway is a brand name that emphasizes quality, cost, and success. The 1950s saw a movement against the high prices of Broadway shows.
People wanted something more affordable, and that led to Off-Broadway shows with smaller seating arrangements and less expensive tickets. Of course, it also meant that the artists were less famous and not as popular as Broadway actors.
Off-Broadway went to become as popular as Broadway shows mainly because of their affordability and range of content. The theaters are located adjacent to Broadway, making it easy for the public to attend the shows.
The first biggest Off-Broadway musical was The Threepenny Opera. It proved to everyone that Off-Broadway shows could be great hits and bring money and fame to the company. This led to many other successful Off-Broadway shows.
Nowadays, you can easily buy tickets to Off-Broadway shows from the internet and enjoy the events without feeling overwhelmed by large gatherings.
Broadway Vs. Off-Broadway
Generally speaking, Broadway shows have high production quality, which leads to a high cost of investment and expensive tickets to get back the investment. Off-Broadway cuts down the cost of production to Offer affordable tickets.
Broadway shows are more polished or professional, while Off-Broadway shows might lack subtle finesse. That’s because Off-Broadway shows are performed by budding or emerging artists looking for a big break.
The seating capacity for Broadway events is larger and accommodates more than 499 people. Off-Broadway shows generally have a seating capacity of 99 to 499. Shows that appeal only to a certain crowd are performed on Off-Broadway.
Successful Off-Broadway shows are taken to Broadway and presented to a larger audience. Sometimes, Broadway shows are also performed at Off-Broadway theaters. For example, The Fantasticks has a record as the longest-running musical (forty-two years) on Off-Broadway. It was moved to Broadway in 2006.
While Tony Awards accept only Broadway nominations, Obie awards deal with Off-Broadway shows, and Drama Desk Awards consider both shows. That said, Tony Awards made an exception in 1956, awarding Lotte Lenya with the ‘Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical’ for her performance in The Threepenny Opera. Of course, this was before the rules were changed.
The differences between Broadway and Off-Broadway shows cannot be said as established standards. There have always been exceptions where Off-Broadway shows were more popular or had a better quality performance. That’s what makes them attract crowds even today.
Keep a tab on the dates and buy your tickets to the popular Off-Broadway shows well in advance.