Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Off-Broadway theatres are those with 100 to 400 seats, offering less commercial productions than Broadway—often experimental. Generally the shows are less expensive, less publicized, less well-known and feature less-famous performers. The smaller scale also often allows more experimental, challenging work to be presented. Many off-Broadway groups are non-profits rather than commercial producers, meaning that they can more easily afford to take chances on plays which might not be commercial hits; however, they still have to ensure enough interest in their plays to have a large enough subscriber base to keep them financially sound.
The classification of theatres is governed by language in Actors' Equity contracts, rather than by whether the theatre has a Broadway address.
It is not unknown for successful Off-Broadway shows to later have a Broadway run—for instance, the musicals Avenue Q, Rent, Hair, and Little Shop of Horrors and the plays Doubt and I Am My Own Wife were initially shown in New York Off-Broadway.
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