The Shubert Organization, with 17 houses Broadway’s biggest landlord, increased its off-Broadway presence from one stage to six after closing the deal to take over New World Stages. The five-theater complex, a former movieplex that had been run by Dodger Theatricals after a $23 million conversion beginning in 2001, is on West 50th Street at the fringe of the core Broadway Theater District.
Shubert also built and operates the Little Shubert Theatre on West 42nd Street. New World currently is home to productions of Avenue Q, which moved from Broadway, Gazillion Bubble Show, Blank! The Musical and iLuminate, in auditoriums ranging from 199 to 499 seats. A statement from the company said that those shows will continue under the new owners.
As evidenced by the extended run of Avenue Q and similar transfers of Peter And The Starcatcher and Million Dollar Quartet, off-Broadway can offer an attractive alternative to closing a successful show whose Broadway sales might have begun to flag. Shows running in off-Broadway theaters operate under far less costly union contracts than their Broadway counterparts and can charge lower ticket prices while still making a profit.
The company declined further comment when asked about renovation plans or consideration of a name change for the complex.