It’s a Christmas miracle! An Off-Broadway show recouped.

Sound the bells.  Light the lights.  An Off-Broadway show is in the black!

Last week, Tribes, the Off-Broadway show by Nina Raine which has been running for only nine months at The Barrow Street Theatre downtown, announced that it recouped its entire capitalization.

And they said it couldn’t be done.

Normally this kind of news is something I would just tweet, but an Off-Broadway show recouping is as rare as a Broadway play without Hollywood stars, so I had to give it the full post attention it deserves.

How rare is this kind of announcement?

Well, by my rough count, there have only been 6-7 Off-Broadway shows that have recouped their investment in the last . . . oh . . . 15 years!  (I’m proud to say that three of those suckers are mine – but even those were several years ago now – Altar Boyz opened in 2005 – and it’s much, much harder now than it was then!).

Three cheers for the super smart Producers at the helm of this terrific drama . . . Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian and Tom Wirtshafter.  Congrats, guys, on a job amazingly done.  And of course, congrats to Ms. Raine and Director David Cromer and the cast.  For without the artists creating something that audiences want to see, there’s nothing to recoup in the first place.

We should all spend some time studying this show to see what it takes to recoup a show Off-Broadway in the 2010s.  Because it ain’t easy.  Let’s hope Tribes has broken the streak and that there are many more to follow.

Because Off-Broadway is too important of a training ground for actors, directors and yes, Producers, for it to not have a chance at financial success.



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  • Elana Safar says:

    Amazing show, even more amazing work, affordable ticket + advertising = RECOUP

  • Fresh story, fresh treatment, phenomenal talent, richly satisfying theatrical experience… I loved it, and am so pleased for all involved…

  • alex De Witt says:

    wow that’s great, more plays should be done off-broadway, and theater might be more affordable.. limited runs, it could work?

  • Blake says:

    What are the off broadway shows that have recouped? i’m curious to know them, thanks!

  • janis says:

    Terrific news!

    And very well said!

    Maybe Off Broadway is beocming the Indepent Film of the New York. I was reading only today that as Hollywood produces epensive flop after epensive flop, inexpensive independent films are becoming increasingly popular and paying off for producers.

    Now if we can only get them singing and dancing…

  • Paula says:

    As a teacher of the Deaf, the show was close to my
    heart and experience. “Goes to show” or “shows to go”
    people can “tune” into relevant issues in people’s lives. Congratulations to all involved in the show! This
    is a reality show. I’m also the mother of a hearing
    impaired son.

  • Stephen says:

    Missed its premiere at The Royal Court Theatre, London. Let’s hope it re-appears in UK and elsewhere.

  • Aaron says:

    Congrats to the team of Tribes, and very exciting news for the world of Off-Broadway!

    I wanted to comment however on the last sentence of this post, and I think one of the essential components of having an Off-Broadway that “works” is to think of it precisely the opposite of a “training ground”- the fact of the matter is that Off-Broadway is an entirely different subset of theatrical entertainment and as such, not a place to “train” for the “big league” of Broadway. I certainly have nothing against the Great White Way, but we all know as producers that only certain types of projects are meant to be there, and many projects of high merit don’t belong there- so, I think one of the mindsets that must change for Off-Broadway to be successful is that it is any sort of “training ground”- it is just another form of our art as a cable tv show is to a network tv show.

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