America's largest and most artistically influential community of theatres in New York city are collectively known as "Off Broadway." The phrase can refer to:
  • The geographic area literally surrounding Broadway street and its theatre district,
  • the size of the theatre is limited to 299 seats* (being smaller than the Broadway houses);
  • the content (not being a traditional musical);
  • a not-for-profit or noncommercial production.
The phrase does not means "amateur" or "not ready for Broadway." Many actors, directors, writers, and designers work interchangeably on and off Broadway, and many are fully supported by the professional theatre unions.

* Or 499 seats, depending on which of the 17 unions you are working with.

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