Tips and tricks for discount NYC theater

Every time I see theater in NYC I remember how much I love it; for a few hours I can forget about work and all of life’s stress. It’ always amazes me how much these actors pour into their performances every night, and then walk out of the theater to disappear into the streets like it was all in a day’s work. From the tiny off-Broadway theater to the great White Way, New York attracts the world’s top talent on stage. So how can we make a bit more affordable to enjoy?

A few options for less-expensive Broadway tickets include student rush, lottery or standing room only. Visit this website for a regularly updated list and details, as the policies vary by theater. A few tips:

Lottery: You can enter in a lottery to win up to 2 tickets per person at a greatly discounted price (usually $20-30/ticket) and the seats are often excellent. However, the chances of winning are slim, especially for more popular shows when there’s a bigger pool.

Student / general rush: While student rush is reserved for students with valid ID, some shows also have general rush where anyone can visit the box office when it opens and buy leftover tickets at a discounted price. This is a great option if you have the day free and can get to the box office early.

Standing room only: I’ve never tried this because I’m not thrilled at the idea of standing for 2 to 3 hours, but I’ve heard it can be worth the sore feet. Visit the box office closer to the performance time to check for availability.

Sometimes you can go to the box office near performance time and they sell any leftover seats. This worked at the off-Broadway theater New World Stages, where RENT and Avenue Q are currently running. A few months ago, we got great last minute seats to RENT for $30/each. Call the box office ahead to check for these offers.

Off-broadway shows are a great opportunity to save some money while still enjoying professional caliber theater. The actors are often Broadway vets and the talent is certainly no less amazing. In fact, many Broadway shows start off in other theaters across the city, so you might even get a sneak peak before a show hits the big time. My recommendation: check out Fat Camp the Musical now playing at The American Theatre of Actors, Chernuchin Theatre (and starring my friend, Jared Zirilli!). I can guarantee you will laugh your butt off.

For more information on off-Broadway shows, check out these sites:
http://www.nycgo.com/index.php/off-broadway/
http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/index_off_broadway.php

Enjoy!

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