Before you buy tickets, realize it could cost almost $500 to take a family of four to see an A-list Broadway show. But several Web sites can help you yield hefty savings, and on any given evening New York offers dozens of other options for affordable, compelling shows.
Codes: Websites like Playbill.com and Theatermania.com provide special codes to use with your ticket order that will allow you to grab anywhere from a 25- to 50-percent discount.
TKTS: If you’re a bit more spontaneous and willing to take a chance, you can go to one of the two TKTS booths in New York (one in Times Square and one at the South Street Seaport) and get discounted tickets for that day’s shows that day. A theatergoer’s dream, with shows like the Producers, Phantom of the Opera and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels listed, the TKTS booths offer shows at over 50% off the regular price – though there’s no way to tell which shows will be available until you get there, and they only sell tickets for that evening’s shows. Also remember … they only accept cash.
Pay extra: If you have a must-see show on your list and can’t get tickets from the box office, you can always try ticket agencies, but if you’re willing to spend that much you might consider the last-minute VIP seats many shows offer. These are seats for sold-out shows available to the public for a much higher price. To check out these seats click on “premium seats” on the Ticketmaster and Telecharge sites.
Pre-Broadway: The Public Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club are the main companies producing new works in New York City. Their productions often move on to Broadway, and seeing them at the more intimate theaters where they start out can be extremely rewarding.
For larger-scale experiences, Carnegie Hall and Symphony Space also produce award-winning shows including lectures, concerts, dance performances and other events. They offer a nice change of pace from the traditional Broadway offerings.
Lincoln Center: The New York City Opera produces operas and operettas at the while the Lincoln Center Theater produces plays and musicals. The Lincoln Center Theater’s motto is, “The arts not for the privileged few, but for the many.” With that in mind, both companies offer fantastic productions at affordable prices. Added bonus: You get to experience the grandeur of Lincoln Center, home to the Metropolitan Opera, without all the cost and effort required to get a seat at the Met.
Michael D. Gutenplan works on long-form programming for MSNBC Cable.