Broadway on a Budget
To begin 2017, my friend Carly and I ventured to New York for a cultural awakening through exploring the incredible history and landmarks of the city (i.e. see a bunch of Broadway shows).
This was my third visit to NYC but the first where I hadn’t pre- booked a single show- *GASP* what about my inner control- freak?!
Thanks to some helpful Box Office personnel and being two organised ladies; we managed to see Dear Evan Hansen, Waitress, Falsettos, The Great Comet of 1812, School of Rock, Sleep No More and The Front Page with a great view of the stage and full casts. Did I mention we never paid more than $48 USD? (Except for Sleep No More, and that was totally worth it. Seriously. Go see it. Now.)
Paying $150+ USD to secure great seats in advance to your favourite show may be the safest option, but when you want to immerse yourself in as much theatre as possible and don’t have an unlimited budget, you may want to try a few of these tricks.
- Talk to the box offices on your first day
Although online research is very helpful in offering advice on cheap tickets (check out playbill.com), the best way to find out about cheap tix is literally to ask at the box office. They were very helpful in not only telling us the best tickets and lowest price offers, but also gave us approximate times we needed to arrive to secure rush tickets. And we did not miss out on rush tickets to a single show because of it.
- Commit to rush queues
Regardless of the early morning, numb feet and rumbling belly, don’t give up on your rush seats! Some of the best friends we made in New York were fellow actors and theatre fans loyally lining up to see their favourite show. On New Year’s day, we arrived in Times Square at 9am in several layers and enjoyed watching people stumbling home while we drank our flasks of hot chocolate and chatted to the others waiting. My travel buddy and I had a system of tag teaming whilst the other got warm with a coffee indoors; I highly recommend this tactic. To see the 2nd last show
of The Colour Purple, we committed to 3 hours in what became a heavy snowfall. My friend and I couldn’t feel our toes or hands, but made some hilarious friends and were rewarded with the final $30 tickets to see Cynthia and the full cast with a perfect view. Best birthday present to myself EVER.
- Use Today Tix
If you don’t have the time to commit to a rush queue, this little app will ensure you discounted tickets to most shows. Ideal if you have a last minute urge to see something and don’t want to pay for the only seats left- which are usually premium.
- Avoid scalpers and TKTS
A trip to Broadway isn’t complete without a browse of the TKTS stand and paying attention to at least one discount ticket company when they approach you on the street. However we found that the shows and seats available were not comparable with the Today Tix app or rush tickets (not to mention having to follow a person waving pamphlets at you through the crowded street to his store.)
- Enter online lotteries
The chances are slim, but when you’ve got a chance of seeing Dear Evan Hansen or Hamilton in the front row for $10, you would be crazy not to enter online. And make your friends enter online for you. And your mum. And every other person you know to increase those chances.
- Get standing room seats
I had always thought standing room would be uncomfortable restricted viewing with a crowd of people trying to be the closest to the front- I couldn’t be more wrong. My friend and I ended up picking standing room over seats at the back as the view was unrestricted, each person had their own allotted space, and if the show is good enough (they all were), you completely forget you’re standing. We were lucky enough to be upgraded from our standing spaces to premium seats in Dear Evan Hansen as a few people had to leave at interval- amazing luck! But seriously, who leaves at interval of Dear Evan Hansen?!
- Remember to actually bring your tickets to the theatre…because who forgets the actual tickets to the show…*shifty eyes*
A credit card receipt, pleading and batting your eyelasheswon’t get you a new copy of your show tickets in NYC, so don’t leave them behind…then have to travel to Jersey and back in half an hour before the show to get them…it’s stressful. I luckily made it back with plenty of time before the show, then met Bernadette Peters at interval, so it was a very, very happy ending.