Off-Broadway consists of smaller theatres that offer more challenging, cutting edge and intimate performances than what you'll see on Broadway. Off-Broadway theatres are located in and around the Broadway theatre district… some are even right on Broadway. The designation of "Off-Broadway" is mostly due to the seating capacity of the theatre. Off-Broadway houses are 100 to 499 seats. To be considered "Broadway" and eligible for the Tony Awards, a production must be in a theatre with a capacity of at least 500 seats and in the Theatre District. This is the reason why many Off-Broadway successes move to Broadway. Shows like Little Shop of Horrors, Sunday in the Park with George, Doubt and The Fantasticks all began as Off-Broadway shows.
Most Broadway shows offer eight performances a week, broken into five night performances and three matinees. Shows run from Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets can be bought ahead of time online or at major ticket outlets. Some of the best online ticket outlets include Broadway.com (http://www.broadway.com). Online Broadway tickets are also available here at http://www.bestshowticketslasvegas.net. Off-Broadway tickets generally run a little lower than Broadway, for example, The Awesome '80s Prom is selling tickets from $49 to $89. Discounts are available for Off-Broadway shows as well at the same ticket outlets, both online and in person. Of course, if you buy tickets online, expect that sometimes you will pay higher prices than at the box office.
Most shows have open-ended runs, closing only when profits go down. Shows like Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, and other popular choices are on open runs. Others are open for a limited run. This year, A Man for All Seasons, Equus, White Christmas and Rent are only open for a short time. This may be due to availability of the theatre, the actors or other reason. If you want to see a limited run show, book your tickets as early as possible to ensure availability.
Sometimes you can find tickets available the same day as the performance. Your best bets for this are the TKTS booths (one is located in Duffy Square and one is in lower Manhattan). They sell same-day tickets for many Broadway and Off-Broadway productions at discounts that range from 25% to 50%, which can make your Broadway experience much more affordable. Some theatres also offer student rates, same-day "lottery" or "rush" tickets and standing room only tickets.
This season, the top shows include several musicals and straight plays. For musicals, you may be interested in Chicago, playing at the Ambassador Theatre, Grease, which is at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Hairspray, playing in the Neil Simon Theatre, Mamma Mia!, which is in the historic Winter Garden Theatre, or Monty Python's Spamalot, which is performing in the Sam S. Shubert Theatre. Phantom of the Opera, Broadway's longest running show, is at the Majestic Theatre.
Straight plays that will be popular this year include Equus, which stars Daniel Radcliffe in a limited run at the Broadhurst Theatre, Boeing-Boeing, at the Longacre Theatre, The 39 Steps at the Cort Theatre and American Buffalo at the Belasco Theatre.
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