Date of Degree
Cultural History | Public History | Sociology | Theatre History | Urban Studies and Planning
New York Studies
Off- and Off-Off-Broadway remain ill-defined and misunderstood sectors of New York City’s theatre industry, at least when compared with Broadway. This capstone project examines these dual sociocultural spaces and defines some of their contours through a primary analytical lens of geography (the physical locations where Off- and Off-Off-Broadway are produced) and a secondary lens of labor (the professional contexts in which Off- and Off-Off-Broadway are produced). Both elements speak to the material conditions of theatrical production in New York City, offering clues as to Off- and Off-Off-Broadway’s position within the entertainment industry and their relationship to the larger social structure of the city. The primary component of this capstone is public-facing, a series of four podcast episodes that recount the histories of four Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theatres and connect these histories to larger New York City neighborhood and municipal histories. Supplemental research mapping a sample of Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theatres provides additional sociological context for these episodes. What emerges from this project is a richer, more nuanced, and complex understanding of how theatre is viewed and practiced in New York City; one that complicates the binary logic of Broadway/Off-Broadway, connects theatre to diverse populations and social systems throughout the city, and centers the work of performing artists whose labor is the raw material of the city’s internationally renowned live entertainment industry.
Mellott, Sean C., "Go Off: The Geography and Labor of Off- and Off-Off-Broadway" (2022). CUNY Academic Works.