On March 12, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered that all theaters on Broadway shut down for a month. Also, gatherings of under 500 people may continue to operate in New York at half-capacity. As a result, many Broadway theaters have been shut down and will not reopen until April 13 at the earliest.
However, many off-Broadway shows are still going on. These theaters are much smaller than what people would find on Broadway, but they can still operate because they entail fewer than 500 people at a time, not to mention the shows can work with audiences of 200 or so people.
What Is Running?
The shows that are running are ones that operate in many of the smaller venues in the Theatre District of Manhattan. The district runs between Sixth and Eighth Avenues and from 40th to 54th Streets.
The shows that have been running include:
- Perfect Crime is still in its open-ended run at the Anne L. Bernstein Theater in the Theater Center. The show has been running for 33 years, thus making it the longest-running active show in town.
- Harry Townsend’s Last Stand is playing at New York City Center Stage II. The play is running at half-capacity out of protection. The show is running through April 5.
- Drunk Shakespeare is running at the Roy Arias Stages. The show will still have half-capacity crowds.
- Anne Frank, the Musical, will play at St. Luke’s Theatre until May 7.
- Naked Boys Singing will continue holding its Saturday night performances. The Vaudeville-style show appears at various off-Broadway theaters, although it only plays on Saturday nights. The March 14 performance was canceled.
- The Office: A Musical Parody has an open-ended run at the Jerry Orbach Theatre. The show, which has not been authorized by NBC or any other parties associated with the television series, is still running.
- Stomp is still running at the Orpheum Theater, but it is also at half-capacity.
People who are interested in seeing any of these shows would have to contact the theatres to see if they are still running. There is a chance some of these shows might stop running for any reason.
How Large Are These Venues?
A vital part of why these off-Broadway shows are still running is because the theaters are very small. The largest off-Broadway theaters can fit 499 people.
The smallest off-Broadway theater is the McGinn/Cazale Theater The venue has a capacity of 108. Other small houses include the 112-seat Claire Tow Theater and 128-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theatre.
A Big Break?
There could be a chance that some of the off-Broadway shows will receive more exposure thanks to how regular Broadway shows are off. Many off-Broadway shows eventually move to larger theaters in Broadway. Among the shows that started off-Broadway include Hair, Godspell, Rent, In the Heights, Hamilton, and Dear Evan Hansen.
However, some shows prefer to stick to the smaller and more intimate atmosphere of an off-Broadway theater. The Fantasticks is the most noteworthy example. The show ran off-Broadway from 1960 to 2002 and had more than 17,000 performances. The show also had an off-Broadway revival from 2006 to 2017.