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English Language Institute Blog

3 Types of Theater in New York City

March 27 is World Theater Day.

Theater NYC  broadwayNew York City is one of the best cities in the world to see theater. Many English language students go to the theater to see famous stars and great shows. At the English Language Institute, we go with a group of students to see a show and is always a highlight of their time here as part of our student life.

New York theater is divided into three main categories. The criterion used to differentiate them is the size of the theater!


#1 Broadway

Theater NYC TKTS boothTheaters that are larger than 499 seats are considered Broadway theaters. So when you hear people talking about going to a Broadway show, this is what they mean. 

Most Broadway theaters are not actually on the street in NYC called Broadway; but they are in the streets around Times Square. They can be musicals and non-musical dramas or comedies. In New York, you can often see famous movie stars acting on the stage in Broadway shows.  

Some shows have cheap on-day tickets at the TKTS ticket booth or lotteries in the theater.


#2 Off-Broadway

Theater NYC  times-squareTheaters with houses between 99 and 499 seats are Off- Broadway. Many Off-Broadway shows are also in the main theater district around Times Square, but they are also dotted around Manhattan. A lot of great theater is Off-Broadway.  Sometimes shows start in smaller theaters and then move to larger theaters, or old Broadway shows may move to a smaller theater after they have been on Broadway for a long time.


#3 Off-Off-Broadway

Any theater less than 99 seats is Off-Off-Broadway. These theaters are all around New York City. They are usually cheap and often experimental. Many up and coming artists start in Off-Off-Broadway shows. If you want to see live theater without spending a lot of money, this is a great option.


Going to the theater is a great, fun way to practice your English. Do you want to come to New York to study English?  You can visit the ELI website,  contact the ELI  or apply here.