After a week of nature north of New York City, my family and I decided to travel the opposite direction and hit up NYC to see Book of Mormon on Broadway (it is now tied with Wicked for my top 2 favorites)! Since my move to Florida, visiting the theatre (when I am in NY) has become a tradition with my family. Although on the more expensive side, it is something I recommend to everyone when visiting the area. Now, your automatic thought is most likely – $$$$. I get it and I am right there with you! However, there are some tips and tricks to score lower priced tickets that out of towners (or even in-towners) may not know about:
- The most well known is the TKTS Tickets Booth in the heart of Times Square. People wait outside in the cold or the heat to grab seats at a fraction of the normal cost (just be prepared to be flexible with what shows you are willing to see, locations of seats, etc.).
- Another method would be using the website Today Tix in which you order tickets that are brought to you via a concierge agent outside the theatre. The person is normally dressed in red with a red envelope. Although I was slightly hesitant at first – I ordered the tickets, prayed to the high heavens (I mean it is NYC – are people really going to show up to give me my $300 tickets?!), and GOT MY TICKETS! This is probably my favorite method and the one I use the most.
- There are also the lesser known methods of RUSH/lotteries that take place at the theatre earlier in the day. To me this is the most risky, but high risk – high reward. You may or may not get to see the show, but if you do? It is the most bang for your buck with (usually) great seats! I actually know 2 different sets of friends who won the lottery for Wicked, and another who won a raffle for $30 Lion King seats. I either have a really lucky group of friends, or maybe the chances of winning are better than I realize?!
- Besides Broadway there are also Off-Broadway productions. I have been to a few of these shows like Blue Man Group and Stomp. These shows are in smaller theaters and tend to be more interactive with the crowd (thus making it more kid-friendly). Tickets can still be considered expensive, but they are nothing compared to the prices of some mainstream shows. I would highly recommend this experience over one of the shows or comedy shows Times Square promotors try to entice tourists with (I have done these and they are normally not that good AND they make money by charging 2 drink minimums at twenty bucks a pop)!
Besides telling you how to score more affordable theatre tickets – I also want to paint a picture for those of you who may have never experienced a show and wonder what the experience may be like. This is how I would explain it:
Imagine yourself walking into a theatre from the 1920s. The carpeted floors silence the footsteps of the hundreds of people walking in to find their seats. The antique lighting casts an amber glow against ornate walls. The level of detailing that is seen around the archways, railings, and stage is seldom seen in modern architecture and time is transformed. As you slide into your seat, you realize how much smaller people were nearly a century ago. The legroom and spacious seating is not that of your local movie theatre and instead, you are sitting in history.
As show time nears the lights start to flicker, people find their seats, and the live production begins. At this point, anything can happen. There are no out-takes, breaks, or do-overs. That is the magic of live performance. As the actors and actresses dance, sing, and jump you cannot help but be impressed knowing the stamina involved in this type of performance. The energy then builds between the actors and audience; it bounces between scene, reaction, scene, reaction. The actor feeds off the audience, and the audience feeds off the actor in a symbiotic relationship that either charges or dulls the performance. It is a beautiful connection that fuses everyone within the theatre walls into a single entity. Honestly, it is indescribable.
Eventually, the show comes to an end and the lights come on. You have just experienced something that can never again be replicated. The only people you can share the moment with are the audience and the actors. You can try to explain it to someone who was not there, but they will not understand what unfolded that night. Even people who have seen performances will not fully understood what you experienced THAT night. They may understand what the show was about, but not the emotions that took place within the walls.
People then exit the theatre that only moments ago transported them to another world through the elaborate use of sets, costumes, and lighting and return to the modern streets of NYC. Here, they have the choice of going home, heading to a bar, or even staying behind to meet the actors who only seconds ago was the character they loved or hated. No movie theatre (except the premiere) ever gives you the chance to have an experience like that. When you finally start to walk away and flashing signs catch your attention – Wicked, Lion King, Jersey Boys – you cannot help and wonder which one of them do I get to see next?!
If you have any other tips and tricks for more affordable tickets or suggestions for my next trip to the theatre, please leave some feedback in the comments! I would love to hear from you!