Off Broadway shows refer to offbeat and experimental theatrical shows (musicals, stage shows and plays) in theaters, which are not in Broadway theatrical territory. The classification of a theatre as off-Broadway is determined by the contract terms and conditions lay down by the Actors Equity guild. Usually the off-Broadway theater has a capacity of 100 to 400 seats. The production costs of these shows are usually lower than the Broadway shows.
However, they are more expensive than off-off-Broadway shows. These shows are also not very aggressively advertised. These offbeat shows offer a stage actor a good platform to showcase his or her talent. Since acting in these shows is challenging, they draw actors from the mainstream as well.
Many off-Broadway shows have been very successful and have come to be readapted and run as Broadway shows. Musicals like Avenue Q, Rent, Hair and Little Shop of Horrors and plays like Doubt and I Am My Own Wife are some of the examples of off-Broadway hits run as Broadway shows later. Off-Broadway shows are not eligible for the Tony Awards. Doubt, an off-Broadway play remade as a Broadway show, received the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
Non-profitable groups and non-commercial production groups produce most of these shows. Although these shows are not dependent on commercial success, they need to generate a fair amount of awareness and interest, as they require a subscriber?s base for financial support for their shows. Off-Broadway shows are also popular, as most of the time they guarantee good entertainment at a very low price. Some of the off-Broadway theaters are Playwrights Horizon, New York Workshop and Manhattan?s Theater Club. Some of the current off-Broadway shows running successfully are The Snow Queen, Drum Struck, and Almost Maine.