Broadway is the undisputed hub of theatre in the United States, and, many would argue, the world. But just beyond the Great White Way, there are a ton of smaller theatres with a trove of riches to discover. Off-Broadway shows can be just as entertaining, thought-provoking, and innovative as Broadway ones, and many times more so due to reduced commercial pressure, more intimate settings suited to experimentation, and the flexibility that comes with lower running costs. Some of the greatest Broadway shows have even had successful runs off-Broadway before making it big, such as Next to Normal, Little Shop of Horrors, and Rent.
If you're a real theatre fan in search of something a little different, off-Broadway is just the place to find something unexpectedly delightful. Check out this short list of some of the best shows off-Broadway has to offer at the moment:
Newsical the Musical: This mile-a-minute show is a news-flavored musical sketch comedy bonanza. It pokes fun at everything from politics and world affairs to young Hollywood and Honey Boo Boo.
Avenue Q: Winning multiple Tony Awards in 2004 for its Broadway premiere, this show made a big splash on the Broadway scene, and continues to do so off-Broadway since its 2009 transfer from the main stem. Essentially Sesame Street for adults, it brings puppetry to hilarious heights.
Blue Man Group: The Blue Men from this show have become bona fide cultural icons. Since they first appeared off-Broadway in 1991, their stimulating, multi-media show has been seen there as well as around the world.
Peter and the Starcatcher: The Tony-winning story of the origins of Peter Pan, this play features a dozen actors playing the parts of over 100 distinct characters as well as some enchanting music.
Stomp: Ordinary items come alive in this long-running hit musical, a celebration of the everyday object and how it can have the potential to create beauty. Trash can lids, brooms, and buckets are heard in a symphony of the streets.
The Fantasticks: Holding the record as the longest-running musical in the world, The Fantasticks is an ever-relevant show that gets down to the essence of life. Following the story of two young lovers as they grow up, apart, and back together again, it presents the best and worst of life against the backdrop of your own imagination.
Sleep No More: A unique theatrical experience, Sleep No More presents the events of Shakespeare's Macbeth in the rooms of an old hotel. The audience members don white masks and wander about the building, uncovering the happenings on their own timeline.
iLuminate: Artist of Light: The dance troupe that rocked audiences nationwide in America's Got Talent with their patented combination of sick moves and crazy, illuminated costumes brings its brand of magic off-Broadway in a show like nothing you've ever seen before.
Gazillion Bubble Show: Have you ever seen a bubble so big it could fit a person inside? The creator of this show has made them countless times (and he has even made one big enough for an elephant!). This show presents a visual feast of colorful bubbles of all shapes and sizes doing things you and your kids never thought possible.
My Name is Asher Lev: Based on Chaim Potok's best-selling novel, this play examines the life of a boy coming of age in post-war Brooklyn and struggling with his burning desire to be a painter against tradition and the wishes of his family.