As a rule, Off Broadway plays and musicals are cheaper than their Broadway counterparts, but the price gap has been shrinking. It's not unusual, now, for major Off Broadway productions to charge in the $70-to-$100 range. Happily, there are often plenty of discounts to be found, especially right now. Through the promotional program called Off Broadway Week (although it actually last two weeks, from now through March 8), 40 shows are offering two-for-one deals. You can find a complete list of participating shows here, but here are five that we've seen and recommend for those of you looking to get Off cheap.
THE ZEITGEIST SHOW
Questions of racial tension, power and privilege are very much in the cultural conversation right now, and they’re also at the core of Joel Drake Johnson’s timely office drama. But the real reason not to miss this show is the chance to see its two sensational leading ladies face off: stage lions Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, or Change) and two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest (Bullets Over Broadway).
THE RETURN ENGAGEMENT
Between Riverside and Crazy
As we wrote about last month, one happy recent trend in New York theater is encore presentations of shows. Stephen Adly Guirgis's gritty drama, starring the wonderful Stephen McKinley Henderson as an ex-cop with a bottomless supply of grudges, spent last summer at the Atlantic; now Second Stage is giving you a second chance to catch it.
THE COMMUNITY BUILDER
Playwright David Greig and director Ramin Gray examine the nature of grief in the aftermath of tragedy in a sobering piece inspired by the 2011 summer-camp massacre in Norway. A different local choir shares the stage with two actors and a pianist at each performance, in a striking metaphor for unison in the face of a cracking world.
THE STAR TURN
The extraordinary impressionist Christina Bianco has earned millions of new fans in the past year through viral videos in which she replicates the vocals of various pop and Broadway divas. Now she gets to showcase her nonsinging comic chops, playing 43 characters in a comedy about the vicious world of pre-primary, prep-school admissions in Manhattan.
THE GREY AREA
50 Shades! The Musical—The Original Parody
Lord knows, E.L. James's BDSM fantasy Fifty Shades of Grey and its new movie adaptation already verge on parody. But there's a reason this musical spoof (by Chicago's Baby Wants Candy) has been running for more than a year now: It's actually pretty funny. On purpose.