Sunday, June 16, 2024

The pros of seeing an off-Broadway show

Arts and CultureThe pros of seeing an off-Broadway show

Associate Arts and Culture Editor

Over the years, I’ve seen my fair share of local, regional and touring theatrical productions. In the past, whenever I would make the trek to New York City, it was Broadway or bust for me. If I’m going to spend the time and money to travel to New York, I might as well splurge and see a show on Broadway. I’d therefore never really considered seeing an off-Broadway show before. However, after seeing my first off-Broadway production this summer, I can safely say that I’d underestimated off-Broadway shows for too long.

According to Backstage, off-Broadway theater is defined by the amount of seats that the theater contains. A typical off-Broadway theater contains anywhere from 100-499 seats, while a theater on Broadway typically has over 550 seats. What makes off-Broadway theater unique is that often it is where popular shows, such as “Hamilton,” make their debut before moving to a bigger theater on Broadway. 

In August, due to my longtime love of “Little Shop of Horrors,” I decided to use some money I’d saved up to finally see the show, which is playing off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre. I immediately noticed that tickets were substantially cheaper than what I was used to paying for Broadway tickets. As usual, I chose the cheapest seats available, but on the day of the show, I was surprised to find that my cheap tickets had gotten my family and I seats a mere eight rows back from the stage (the theater only had 12 rows of seats, but I was still impressed).

According to a survey from the Broadway League, in June 2023, the average ticket cost for seeing a Broadway show was $123, while the average ticket cost for seeing a show off-Broadway was $75. I can personally attest to the cost difference, as this year I spent $79 on a ticket for “Little Shop of Horrors” off-Broadway and a whopping $139 a ticket for “Parade” on Broadway. 

The cheaper price of tickets did not diminish the quality of the production, as it was still a Broadway-quality show but with a cheaper price tag. Also, the smaller theater made the entire production feel much more intimate. I also found the sound quality to be better than what I would see at a Broadway theater since I was so close to the stage and there were speakers at the end of each row. 

Moreover, I am  someone who rushes to the stage door immediately after a show for actors’ autographs. Because all the seats in the theater were on the same level, I figured that showgoers would have a similar chance of meeting the show’s actors. Ultimately, however, not a single actor came out the stage door at the showing I went to, so I couldn’t confirm my hypothesis.

At the end of the day, despite my initial reservations, I definitely encourage curious theater goers to try their hand at seeing a show off-Broadway. It’s hard to beat the quality for the relatively affordable price, and it’s truly a memorable experience.




  1. Hi Beth,

    I enjoyed your article. Maybe you can come and see our show, CLOWNS LIKE ME, that had it’s sold out, critically acclaimed world premiere in Sarasota, Fl and is now coming to NY at the DR2 Roth Theater in June! It’s quite a story that you might want to cover. My son, Scott, is the star. It is his life story living with mental illness. He is also a professionally trained actor which makes this unique. He’s not only the actor, he’s the patient. It’s entertaining, funny, gut punching, and hopeful. Broadway has long said it needs more focus on mental illness and the timing in the city could not be better.

    Just wanted to say hello to you. Check out our website that will tell you more of how this came to be and where I intend to take it. Donors from London and Canada want the show in their country which warms my heart.

    Happy to chat sometime if this reaches you!

    With gratitude,

    Joel Ehrenpreis


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