Broadway vs. Off-Broadway

Broadway pic

An executive vice president with The Medicines Company in Parsippany, New Jersey, Loretta Itri oversees global health science operations and regulatory affairs. When she isn’t working, Loretta Itri enjoys attending Broadway and Off-Broadway theater.

Although Broadway was home to many theaters when New York City officials originally christened the street, today only four theaters (the Winter Garden, the Marquis, the Roundabout, and the eponymous Broadway) are physically located on Broadway. The term “Broadway theater,” by contrast, can apply to any large theater in midtown Manhattan.

The distinction between Broadway and Off-Broadway is nuanced. Among other criteria, the terms can be defined partly based on the contracts of theater workers. Individuals employed by larger (Broadway) theaters generally get paid more than those who work for smaller (Off-Broadway) theaters.

Generally speaking, a theater must have at least 500 seats to earn the “Broadway” distinction, while theaters with 99 to 499 seats typically have an “Off-Broadway” distinction. The theater industry denotes venues with less than 99 seats as “Off-Off-Broadway.”