So you are in NY and want to go see a Broadway Show, where do you Start ?( and if you don’t get my header reference, you definitely should go see a musical soon, or rent the 42nd street movie ;)). Here’s my advice
Best Places to Get Tickets
- Online: Tickets can be bought in one of two places Telecharge or Ticketmaster. What’s The difference and why not a single place? well Shows in Nederlander theatres go through ticketmaster, everything else goes through Telecharge. It is always best to go to Telecharge, since it is theatre focused, see what you like and if your show is ticketmaster based it will link you to the appropriate site.
This however is for regular online tickets. How else can you get tickets?
- go to the Box office – if you are in NY and in the area, getting them at the box office of the theatre is simple enough and less charges.
- Discounts, Discounts, Discounts There are a couple of ways to get discounted tickets.
The most popular ways is the TKTS booth in Times Square. Here, if you do the line you can get almost half price tickets for same day shows. However, shows here are generally longer standing shows or those that are not doing well in the box office. You will rarely if ever find new shows/plays or blockbuster hits. Other negative, you might have to stand in line for a while! As a safer bet there is a TKTS outlet in South Street Seaport that has fewer people. Oh and check TKTS Online to see what was posted the day before, it is a safe bet of what will be posted the day you want to go.
For discounts further in Advance, my favorite website is Broadway Box. It compiles discount offers that have gone out, and gives you the codes to access discount tickets either online, phone or box office. There is usually a larger selection her than TKTS (with smaller discounts) but it as the added benefit of purchasing way in advance, so you can plan better your theatre experience. I love this website!!!
- For a Totally sold out Show: There is no such thing. in case all other avenues fail there are always places to buy resold tickets. One of the best is StubHub.
What To See?
How to see what’s on and good websites
Telecharge is a great way to start your search on what to watch – as you can see all the options, by genre, has a small description of the show and key information of when it is playing, as well as linking directly to the shows.
However, if you want to do some more digging there are plenty of websites that will give you the broadway scoop:
- Broadway World Here you can get the latest news on everything Broadway related, coverage of opening nights, reviews of shows and good interviews. Additionally they have good Message Boards where you can see what fellow theatre goers think of the shows you are considering.
- PlayBill The classic website. Their listings are wonderful and easy to navigate, and good news and interviews.
- NYTimes Theater – probably the most reputed reviewers in town,even if i don’t agree with their picks 50% of the time. But Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood are institutions and you do not get more highbrow reviews than this, Their show tuner application is very original, you can put your mood, audience and style and they give you personalized recommendations.
- Michael Riedel @ the Post – Very recognized columnist, you’ve even seen him on Smash. He’s snarky, but he has good inside info some of the time.
- NYMAG Theater Especially good to check out their Fall Previews every September
My Classic Shows Recommendations
So now I’m giving you my personal recommendations for what to see. There is always something old and something new, as in any wedding. First, my recommendations of the classics (those shows that have been there awhile and are must see in order of preference!)
- Lion King: A total Classic. Beautiful Music, but even most impressive its the creative setting on stage. You really do need to experience the Circle of Life once in your life.
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- Wicked: My sister and I have seen this show 5 times and still love it. It is a great show to see with your girlfriends and family, and ill guarantee you’ll be singing the songs for days after. The sets are beautiful, and the story, of the back story of Wizard of Oz is ingenious.
- Phantom of the Opera: Andrew Lloyd Webber at its best, there is a reason it has been playing for almost 20 years. Some of my favorite musical theatre songs are from POTO. However since it has been running for a while, it can be hit or miss, depending of the current Christine and Phantom. If they are good it will be a great night out.
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- Mary Poppins: Its Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius! in all seriousness, it’s not just because i worked in it, but its a great family show that people of all ages can enjoy. THe songs are classics, and the stage (another Bob Crowley beauty) is absolutely impressive. And one can never get old of seeing Mary fly!
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- Mamma Mia & Jersey Boys: Im joining this two because they have a similar flavour. They have a Nostalgia jukebox feel to it that makes you happy. You will know most of the songs and will want to sing and dance along. If your mother is in town, these are musts! However Jersey Boys is in my book the “better” musical, more creative and developed. (i will tell you I have the soundtrack in constant play in my iPod). Mamma Mia is pure lowbrow fun (which once in a while its also really needed!)
- Book of Mormon: It’s not exactly my style of musical, but I have to give credit where credit is due, and it has to be one of the smarter shows I’ve seen in a long time. More of a comedy musical, along the lines of The producers and Spamalot, you will be rolling on the Floor laughing!
As for the new productions, these are my current favorites although these will change constantly and i will post my reviews of new shows as soon as I see them!
Newsies – I might be very biased towards Disney Theatricals, but this one is a sure-fire hit. I was a fan of the Christian Bale Movie but they have upgraded it, with a much stronger book and new additions to the already classic Alan Menken tunes. If you love a show with high energy and wonderful dancing this is your show. The choreography is to die for (it even has some So You Think You Can Dance alumni in it!) and you leave the theater humming and hopping
Once – it is a definitely not your traditional musical. THere are no big song and dance numbers, but there is a raw sentimentality to it. Very much like the movie, it tugs at your heartstrings and you end un falling in love with it. The sets by Bob Crowley are amazing, and to top it off it did win the 2012 Tony both for musical and lead actor.
The Non Broadway Theater Options
However not all shows in NY are Broadway Shows and going to the Theatre in NY is not only about Broadway, there are plenty of other options of things to see, that are equally as fabulous.
Lincoln Centre: One of my favorite Places in NY! The options here are always varied, and although they do house Broadway shows in the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the other performance spaces are awash with options. To see what is playing on the days you want to go, their calendar option is fabulous. Going to an Opera at the Met is a must, as well as catching an ABT Ballet.
For the Opera, the season is announced a year in advance and there are very good reading aides to figure out what you want to see.
Radio City Music Hall: An emblematic building in NY, and some of the best acoustics in the City. Mostly used as a concert Hall, going inside is one of the musts in a NY experience. You can find their schedule at their website. Although mostly it houses one day engagements of musical artists as of late is has also entertained longer sit down productions such as Cirque du Soleil (and reason why they moved the Tonys! b). The absolute Radio City Music Hall Classic is the Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockets! a definite must see once in your life.
Off Broadway: On all of the links above you can also see all the listing for off broadway shows. The difference is smaller houses and smaller budgets, but there are a lot of amazing quality shows. Some of the most popular Broadway shows started Off-Broadway, so if you follow the reviews you can find true gems.