Off Broadway is . . . expanding?

Off Broadway expansionHere’s something you don’t hear every day.  Off Broadway isn’t shrinking or dying . . . it’s expanding.

That’s the news in the NY Times today!  (Click here to read the article.)  It seems that after a couple of decades of theaters disappearing by the bunchful (remember The Houseman?  The Douglas Fairbanks?  The Promenade?  The Variety Arts?  The Century Center?  Etc.?), Off Broadway is going to get three brand-spanking-new theaters on 8th Avenue, including a 249, a 199, and a 99.

Off Broadway pros and peers (and, I’m proud to say, friends o’ mine), Catherine Russell and Hugh Hysell, are the two brainchilds behind the new venue, which is thankfully, in need.

After the loss of all those theaters above, the Off Broadway landscape shrunk severely.  New World Stages and Theater Row were designed to pick up the slack.  But with New World becoming mini-Broadway (Avenue Q, Peter and the Starcatcher, etc.) and Theater Row’s 199 being sucked up by a non-profit, most of those theaters are now out of commission.  And that leaves all those other commercial productions (and commercial producers) with no place to go.

99 seat theaters are easier to find.  But a 199?  A 249?  Few and far between . . . not to mention expensive.

So kudos for Catherine and Hugh for boldly getting into the real estate game.

Now if we could only get the Off Broadway audience to expand as well.


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  • George says:

    That’s certainly interesting…

    Mostly that a Commercial Producer would even be interested in a 99 seat theatre???

    How do you recoupe when you only have 99 seats and Equity Actors??? Unless you are charging $100 a ticket and selling out almost every night… even then, the numbers don’t add up???

  • Stuart Green says:

    More places to play? Hooray! Thanks for the good word Ken!

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