5 of the Best Off-Broadway Theater Venues in New York City

If the bright lights and trendy streets of New York City are beckoning, you should book a stay at Bluegreen Resorts’ The Manhattan Club, located in the center of the city. Make this resort your home base from which to explore New York City’s iconic landmarks, its glorious art scene, and some of the best restaurants in the world.

After checking out the city’s world-class museums and exclusive shopping venues, don’t forget to buy tickets for a show at one of New York City’s famous theaters. The city is renowned for its Broadway productions, but you can enjoy a more intimate and more affordable theater experience at an Off-Broadway show.

The following are some of the best Off-Broadway theater companies and venues in New York City:

Delacorte Theater

Delacorte Theater

Image courtesy user gigi_nyc | Flickr

A beloved summertime destination, the Delacorte Theater is an open-air stage nestled in the southwest corner of Central Park’s Great Lawn. The theater is famous for hosting Shakespeare in the Park, a free series produced annually by The Public Theater. Since 1962, more than 5 million theater-goers have attended free productions by The Public at the 1,872-seat venue.

The nonprofit theater company produces a Shakespeare play for the Delacorte each summer. It also presents other classic plays, including Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht and Anton Chekov’s The Seagull. In addition to introducing emerging talents, the theater often casts celebrated performers like Meryl Streep.

While admission is free, you will need to obtain tickets on the day of a performance.

Astor Place Theatre

Astor Place Theatre was built in 1831 as a row of nine buildings along the historic Colonnade Row on Lafayette Street. Today, just four of those buildings still stand, fronted by marble columns in the Greek Revival style. The site, located in New York City’s “NoHo” area, has become famous as the original home of the Blue Man Group. Collaboration between the Blue Man Group and the Astor Place Theatre has resulted in one of the longest lasting Off-Broadway shows in the city.

Pershing Square Signature Center

Home to the Signature Theatre Company, the Pershing Square Signature Center is an expansive new venue on 42nd Street in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Midtown Manhattan. The center includes three distinctive theater spaces that deliver an immersive and intimate experience.

Modeled after the company’s original theater space, the Diamond Stage seats 294 people, while The Linney Stage seats 191 people in a flexible courtyard configuration. The Griffin Jewel Box Theatre also seats 191 audience members, but the space resembles a traditional grand opera house that has been miniaturized to promote the audience-performer engagement that is characteristic of Off-Broadway theater.

Along with the three theater spaces, the Pershing Square Signature Center offers two studios, a bookshop, and a café that is perfect for an after-show drink. The spacious center was designed by world renowned architect Frank Gehry and enables the Signature Theatre Company to support more talented playwrights.

The Daryl Roth Theatre

The Daryl Roth Theatre is an unmatched space in the Union Square area, with high ceilings and an unobstructed layout. Located in the former Union Square Savings Bank on the corner of East 15th Street, The Daryl Roth Theatre opened to audiences in 1996, when producer Daryl Roth revitalized the historic 1840’s building. For seven years, the building housed DE LA GUARDA, an international Off-Broadway hit.

In 2002, The Daryl Roth Theatre also transformed the former Union Square Savings Bank annex into the DR2 Theatre, an intimate theatre venue with just 99 seats. The DR2 has presented a number of top productions, including The Velveteen Rabbit, Stars of David, and Ears On A Beatle.

Cherry Lane Theatre

In 1924, the Cherry Lane Theatre began as the Cherry Lane Playhouse, an influential and long-running Off-Broadway venue that hosted productions starring a variety of celebrated artists, from Geraldine Fitzgerald to Barbara Streisand. The Commerce Street venue in Greenwich Village was the birthplace of several major theater movements, and it became known for showcasing the work of emerging playwrights. Some of the most famous American plays, written by greats like T. S. Eliot and Sam Shepard, came out of the small theatre.

Cherry Lane was revived in 1996 by Angelina Fiordellisi, who went on to found the Cherry Lane Studio to support more aspiring playwrights. Currently, Cherry Lane Theatre includes a 60-seat studio and a 179-seat main stage.