If you are looking for all the old bohemians and radicals that used to hang out in Greenwich Village, then you need to travel no further than the nearby East Village. This section of New York is bounded by Broadway to D Avenue and from 14th Street to Houston Avenue. It has long been a deeply ethnically diverse neighborhood with many people coming here from Eastern Europe and Ireland. The Bohemian set that lived in Greenwich in the last century moved out as the rents increased there and moved into the East Village where rents were not so extravagant. No more however. Like the rest of New York it is becoming very expensive to live here too.
The main draw to this neighborhood is the wide variety of shopping, restaurants and bars. There is something for everyone here. You might notice very trendy and luxurious clothing stores tucked in right next door to a thrift shop or used record stores. Some of New York's most historic bars are also located here. Finally there are many off Broadway theaters here to attract you to the neighborhood after dark.
If you are on a budget and want to get discounted tickets (up to 50% off!) to Broadway shows, you need to check out the TKTS booth in Times Square. Located "under the red steps" in Father Duffy Square on Broadway and 47th Street. Check out the marquis to see which shows are available for sale - and have a couple of "back-ups" in case your show sells out before you get to the front of the line. They sell tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway shows. I've had great luck there. If you have your heart set on a specific show - especially one of the very popular shows (i.e. Wicked, Phantom of the Opera), go to the theatre website and buy them in advance. But if you don't have your heart set, go to TKTS and see what is available. I've been able to get tickets for Annie Get Your Gun (starring Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat), 42nd Street, Jersey Boys, and Follies (again, starring Bernadette Peters - LOVE her!).
Fondest memory: TKTS website for directions, and lists of shows offered the previous week: http://www.tdf.org/tkts
If you're planning to enjoy the Broadway and off-Broadway offerings in NYC, don't forget about revivals. Sure, you may feel that seeing the newest show is the thing to do on your visit. But, revivals are remakes or re-interpretations of Broadway classics, and it's a chance to enjoy shows that have truly endured the test of time.
DO investigate the revivals themselves ahead of scoring tickets. For example, I noted that there was a new revival of WEST SIDE STORY playing, and I love that story. But.... upon checking into it, I found that this version was sung approximately 75% in Spanish. I get it, they're supposed to be Puerto Rican kids and Spanish would be authentic. But.... I don't understand Spanish. So, it wouldn't have been the show for me. Like I say, revivals often include re-interpretations of the original hit show. Make sure that any new takes or twists will meet your expectations.
We went to see the Stephen Sondheim classic A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC on our April 2010 visit. It starred Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. It was wonderful. Wonderful.
My wife wanted to bring our 5-year old twins to Broadway, so i checked on prices on-line for Little Mermaid but I saw prices over $100...so I just asked a friend in NY to buy the tickets for us and she was able to get them for $70.
But upon research on VT, it seems that I got on the wrong website. Advance discount tickets can be found at another website instead: www.broadway.com (how simple, hehehe)
Also, you can fall in queue (sometimes 2 hours queue) in half-price booths that can be found in New York City like the TKTS on Times Square, the South Street Seaport or at the Kennedy Center (for both Broadway and Off-Broadway shows).
The kids loved Little Mermaid, but I did not go with them because I took a flight to Iceland instead for a few days, hehehe...but the thing is I have not watched a Broadway show myself (as of yet) because I like the outdoors more. But soon I will watch an opera as I read VTer Nemorino's pages (an avid opera-goer)...
I have been to New York in the last 3 consecutive years to specifically watch Broadway musicals. I pre-reserve tickets on-line because I like to get into shows that I really want to see. The official on-line Broadway provider is telecharge (http://www.telecharge.com/) and it lets you view the seating arrangement and allows you to select from it before you solidify and confirm your purchase.
Have fun and enjoy your show!!!
Fondest memory: Broadway musicals, food vendors in street corners, tons of shopping opportunities, walking, sight-seeing, and people-watching
Broadway shows are a must do in NYC. And some of the "off Broadway" shows are great too.
TKTS is the place for up to 50% off on show tickets. Two "convenient" locations - Times Square and Lower Manhattan.
Times Square - formerly in the middle of Times Square, TKTS is temporarily located in the Marriott Marquis at West 46th Street between Broadway and Eighth. Hours are M-F 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM; (Wed and Sat - 10:00 AM-2:00 PM for 2pm Matinee); Sat 11:00 AM- 7:00 PM; Sun 11:00 AM-3:00 PM.
Lower Manhattan at South Street Seaport (corner of Front and John St). Hours are M-F 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM; Sat 11:00 AM- 7:00 PM; Sun 11:00 AM-3:00 PM.
Fondest memory: Actually my fondest memory is not of a theatre production (although Wicked is tops), it was playing trumpet in my HS Band at the 1964 Worlds Fair. We stayed in Times Square and as a kid of 15, I found the streets of NYC much fun.
Spamalot is an excellent Broadway show. We bought our tickets the day before so Im sure we overpayed. We were in the top Balcony and with fees our tickets totalled to $80 each. This show has everything that a Broadway show needs such as singing, drama, comedy...
Fondest memory: This is definately one of the best Musicals I have seen!!
The primary reason for my latest visit to NYC was for my Lion King-loving daughter to see Lion King on Broadway. And, it did not disappoint.
Ahead of seeing LK onstage, many had told me that they (a) liked the show better or (b) liked the movie better. For me, there's no comparing them, they are entirely different entities. both are terrific and have their own special charm.
Comparing the show to the movie, I'd note the following differences:
(1) Raffiki is much more African, speaking mostly in Swahili/click dialect and only occasionally popping in enough English to help us understand.
(2) The "love" scene between Simba and Nala is wonderfully choreographed onstage, and shares a much more serious nature to what's happening than does the movie. Tastefully done, but more mature by far than the film.
(3) There are several additional songs in the stage production, and my daughter has already taken them to her heart. When they make the iPod, she loves them. :)
(4) The theatrical technology sets the stage presentation apart from the film in many ways. Whereas the film's computer graphics are stunning, the talent and artistry of the puppeteers and acrobats onstage portraying the various characters and animals is awe-inspiring. It would take ME about three minutes to break every bone in my body if I tried to walk around in those giraffe costumes.
Fondest memory: The Lion King is a wonderful and beloved story. The Broadway presentation is just another way of sharing something we all know and love. You'll be amazed and highly entertained, even if you've seen the movie a hundred times....as have I. :)
One negative, and it's more of the DISNEY that I really dislike... Having salespeople hawking little stuffed animals and crap IN the aisles of the theater before the show and during intermission was a little bit tacky. I'd hope that Broadway would be above such hucksterism. Leave the souvenirs in the lobby, folks. (Disclaimer...those of you who have visited my Orlando page know that I have no love for Disney as a corporate entity. I admire their art and creativity, but there is no denying their abject greed. I still remember them suing a kindergarten that had the audacity to pain a picture of Mickey Mouse on an internal wall)
As a special "tweak" to DISNEY, I will be downloading and posting a "bootleg photo" as my second entry below. It is my daughter and wife in the Minskoff Theater, where taking such photos is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. I squeezed this one off at intermission and without using flash, so take THAT, Disney. :)
Phantom of the Opera is supposedly the longest-running Broadway show ever. And, it's easy to see why. The costumes, the bold and moving score, the story.... it's all perfect.
Not pretending to be a theater critic for a moment, I will tell you this... Phantom has the great plus that so many of my favorite movies has... there really are no villains. Sure, the Phanton kills a few people, but it's easy to feel sorry for him. He's desperately in love with the beautiful and talented Christine Daae, and your heart breaks knowing that they just can't be together.
And sure, Carlotta is a jealous little shrew. But she's more of an annoyance than a villainess.
The entire production is stunning, but my two favorite scenes are:
(1) the two scenes where they're gliding on a boat on the Seine. The way that motion and marine travel are set up and presented on stage via darkness, moving candles and a gliding skiff, are amazing. You can almost smell them being out on the water.
(2) the masquerade ball is breathtaking. There is a huge staircase onstage, and each step has 2-3 characters occupying it. Every one of their costumes is festive and exploding with dazzle and color. Incredible.
Buy the soundtrack, if you don't already have it in your collection. (I'd owned my Phanton soundtrack for well over ten years before I even saw the show)
Go see PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Right now, it's showing at the magnificent Majestic Theater over on 44th street. This is one of my favorite NYC theaters....I was fortunate enough to enjoy THE BOY FROM OZ at the same venue a few years ago.
Favorite thing: One of the things you must do while in NYC is go to the Theater. Broadway Shows are a top draw with the numerous Musicals and Stage Plays. One can get tickets for shows as diverse as Mama Mia, Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast or Rent. There are also numerous Off Broadway Shows and Off Off Broadway Shows. Taking in a show is one of the activities you have to do.
The stretch of Broadway that crosses Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan, is the home of many Broadway theatres and is the place in North America to see a musical or play. This area of Manhattan is often called the Theater District or the Great White Way. The best place to get tickets for a show is at the TKTS in Duffy Square at the center island of 47th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue. TKTS sells unsold tickets on the day of performance for all Broadway shows for 25-50% off the box office price plus a $3.00 service charge per ticket. They only accept cash and traveler's cheques. Get there early! Lines can get long very quickly. However, they move pretty fast.
I saw Miss Saigon twice on Broadway. Miss Saigon is a 'modern' adaptation of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" set at the end of the Vietnam War and carrying on to post-war Vietnam. Why did I see it twice? Miss Saigon is based on the strength of the actors that play them. The Engineer was excellent in this production as he really did come off as an Asian pimp. Ellen was played by an Asian which put a little spin on the American GI's return to the USA. Finally, Melinda Chua was so good at Kim that five rows behind me and five rows in front of me were actually weeping when she shot herself.
I also saw Les Miserables on Broadway. Les Misérables, commonly known as Les Mis, is a musical based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It tells the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his attempts to start a new life and make the world a better place. The cool thing about this one was that the understudy for Fantine was sitting next to me in sweats during the whole first act. I was hanging out in my T-shirt and shorts. It was fun talking to her as we trashed all the well dressed people in the crowd. The performance was decent as Jean Valjean was very strong.
We came across this fantastic deal on orchestra seats for "Sweet Charity."
I highly recommend booking through this site if you plan to see any of the headlining shows on Broadway.
At first, we were a bit apprehensive because the price for Orchestra Center seats for "Sweet Charity" seemed too good to be true!
Regular price for these seats are over $100 USD per ticket...this website sold it for us at 1/3 the cost!
As it turned out, they are totally legit, and totally worth it!
"Sweet Charity" was one of the best musicals I had seen on Broadway.......and extra sweeter because of the price!
You can book online with your credit card and the tickets are ready for you at "Will Call" on the day of the performance.
I absolutely loved Broadway, my favourite show being Jonathon Larson's RENT.
Our concierge earned his tips by advising us foreigners on the Broadway lottery - by rocking up to a show a couple hours early and going into a ticket lottery for $20 tickets!
Sure enough, we scored ourselves a couple of cheapy tickets (normal price is $100 a pop!) and had an absolutely awesome night!
You can buy tickets for Broadway shows for up to a 50% discount, depending on the show. There is a service charge and you must wait in line at Duffy Square. The line goes pretty quickly.
They only accept cash and traveler's checks.
Website for more information:
Although you are not likely to find discount tickets for whatever the hot production is, there are several ways to get discount tickets for long running productions and off Broadway plays.
I prefer to get tickets ahead of time, the lines at TKTS can be an hour +, do you really want to spend your time in the Big Apple waiting in line?
Here are a few suggestions:
Broadway Box has discount codes that you can use to purchase tickets on the official seller's website or by phone. Frugal TheaterGoer has useful information about finding discounts.
You have to sign up for TheaterMania and Playbill to get at the discounts but both are free to join and you can also sign up for their newsletter that alerts you to discounted shows
If you are already in New York and don't have access to a computer, you can try the TKTS booth in Times Square but see my tourist trap tip regarding TKTS.
A couple of other methods that I've read about but never tried:
Show up at the theater 2 1/2 hours before the performance and sign up for the lottery (bring a photo id). Tickets should be $25 or less.
If you're a student, you can get same day rush tickets, check tdf.org or telecharge.com for each show's policy.
And the least appealing option for really hot shows, many of the big hits have SRO tickets after the full price ones sell out for about $25 but you have to stand for the whole performance.