professional drama produced in New York City in small theaters often away from the Broadway area and characterized by experimental productions.
experimental or avant-garde drama produced in New York City, in small theaters, halls, churches, etc.
designating the kind of experimental, low-budget, or noncommercial productions associated with theatre outside the Broadway area in New York
(of theatres) not located on Broadway

1953, “experimental theater productions in New York City,” from off (adv.) + Broadway. Even more experimental off-off-Broadway is attested from 1967.

A descriptive term for part of the theatrical community of New York City that presents small-scale, often experimental dramas. The costs of off-Broadway productions are generally much lower than those of Broadway plays.

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