New York is reknowned for it's theatre scene. Everyone's heard of Broadway, the Great White Way, though it's got a lot more colour than that. The bulk of the theatres are within a half dozen blocks or so radiating out from Times Square and some of the streets are lined with theatres on both sides of the street. And if it isn't a theatre, it will be a restaurant or a bar for pre or post theatre imbibing.
New York theatre is top class. You'll hear of Broadway and off-Broadway but the only difference is how many seats the theatre holds. Off Broadway is the term for a theatre that holds under 500 people. Anything over that is classed as a Broadway show/theatre. It doesn't matter whether the venue is on or off the actual street called Broadway. I didn't know that before my recent visit.
New York theatre is also among the most expensive in the world that I've experienced. I've seen West End London shows for a lot less in many cases. There are ways around this. You can queue up at the TKTS half price booth in Times Square which is a great way to get the tickets for the day of the performance. But the lineups can be very long and crowded. I prefer to book ahead so i know i can get what i want.
I found a couple of websites that worked great. You can book online, they will either send you an e-ticket to print at home or you can take a voucher to the theatre box office and exchange it for the tickets.
Theatre Development Fund
I used Broadway Box and got 40% off tickets to Rock of Ages and it worked like a charm. You can also use Broadway Box for tickets in other cities like London and Las Vegas. Not every show will offer discounted tickets but most of the popular ones are there.
The Theatre Development Fund is the non-profit organization that runs the TKTS half price booth. You can also get discounted tickets online through their website as well. They have a link so you can see what's available on the day.
One of my favorite areas in New York City, visited by locals and tourists alike, is the "Theater District." Also known as "The Great White Way," New York's Theater District is an area with somewhat defined, physical boundries within Manhattan stretching from 53rd to 42nd Streets, and between 6th and 8th Aves.
The energetic Theater District is also populated by scores of restaurants, shops, hotels, and world-reknowned attractions all catering to visitors from around the world, as well as day-trippers who come to visit the city for the day only.
The Theater District boasts of being home to over 30 theaters where plays are staged as matinees and nightly performances. Some of the greatest and most beloved stars of the stage and screen have performed at these theaters such as Angela Lansbury, Nathan Lane, Helen Hayes, Elaine Stritch, Matthew Broderick, and so many more.
Some of the more famous theaters are The Winter Garden, the Helen Hayes Theater, the Music Box, the Minskoff, the Palace, the Majestic, and the list goes on and on. Many of the theaters date back to the early 20th century or earlier, and are unique in their size, seating arrangements and position of the stage which is often turned perpendicular to the front of the building, due to their pocketed, narrow positions between large buildings.
Except for a very few, the theaters are not known for their luxurious lobby or comfortable seating. However, this is more than compensated for by the quality of the plays and the actors that perform in them. (This is in contrast to Radio City Music Hall which has an enormous & comfortable seating area, and very large stage flanked by identical organs on each side of the stage. Radio City also has a beautifully ornate, staircased lobby with chandeliers.)
Over the years I have been privileged to see many plays, both dramas & musicals, as well several Christmas Spectaculars at Radio City. This is because my employer arranges for bus trips to New York City as well as is able secure good discount ticket prices. Otherwise, the list of plays I would have seen in New York would be quite small. If you love live theater, you cannot visit New York City without seeing at least one play.
Some of the best plays I have seen in recent years are:
"Fences" ~ an August Wilson play starring Denzel Washington & Mykeltie Williamson
"A View from the Bridge" ~ an Arthur Miller play starring Scarlett Johannson & Liev Schreiber
"Bye Bye Birdie" ~ starring John Stamos
"In the Heights"
"Phantom of the Opera"
"Beauty and the Beast"
"The Odd Couple" ~ starring Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick
For tickets, if you have the time and are on a budget, visit "TKTS" at Duffy Island near Times Square (47th St. between 7th Avenue & Broadway) for deeply discounted tickets on the same day of the performance (similar to Leceister Square in London). There is an additional $3 service charge per ticket but you may well obtain tickets for half the face price--cash & travelers' checks only. (There is a satellite branch of TKTS at South Street Seaport but you must purchase tickets here on the day BEFORE the performance.) Tickets can also be secured in advance online at playbill.com or perhaps Ticket Master.
NOTE: (2012) I have recently heard that now on Wednesdays you can purchase deeply discounted theaters tickets if you arrive at the theater of your choice in the morning (9 to 10 am) for a ticket to the play shown only at that theater on that same day. Someone who I know has done this and been successful -- I have not yet tried this. Can anyone else verify this?
Although probably many "VT"-ers have already heard about the musical "Mamma mia" or seen it, I would like to suggest to everyone who has not yet seen it and who likes the music of "ABBA" to go to see it on Broadway. We (my husband and me) saw it in the "Winter Garden Theater" and the musical took me back in the 80s with big pleasure. The prices (in August) for the tickets were between around 70 and around 230 US dollars. We bought two tickets for about 85 US dollars each and the places were excellent.
You can't go to New York and not visit the theatre district - it just wouldn't be right!
The area is buzzing whatever time you seem to go there and there are many many theatres showing both on and off broadway shows, which if you get a chance to go and see one I would highly recommend.
I booked my tickets before leaving the UK as there was something specific that I wanted to see and i didn't want to take a chance of booking last minute - or going to the TKTS booth in Times Square.
This area gets crowded and is obviously a main tourist attraction, so again i would recommend if you have children keeping tight hold of them as you could easily get lost!
Some of the theatres are lovely and have great historical interest - even if you don't go and see a show i would go just to look around.
This area is also a great place to get a NYC souvenier cheaply either from a store or the pavement sellers - I got an NYC hoodie for $15 which is about £10.
Times Square, 15 minutes to curtain, and thousands filing into theaters, hearts pounding as they wait for those first notes of the overture. The best of the best tread New York's famed boards. As the song says, If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere...
Whether your choice is comedy, drama, or musical, you'll find it at New York's famed theaters.
Tickets can be expensive, but there are alternatives and many discounts. The Theater Development Fund (www.tdf.org) has two discount booths ("TKTS"), one in Times Square (at 47th St.) and another at the South St. Seaport, that sell same-day discounted tickets. Or, save your time and order discount tickets in advance via www.broadwaybox.com. Some theaters offer student and other "rush" tickets, or sell some seats (typically the first row) through lottery. To see which shows offer these, visit www.playbill.com -- a great site to keep up with the latest "in" news, too.
(This terrific photo of curtaiin time is by Geoff Fox - www.geofffox.com - and is reproduced with his permission.)
As a break for an afternoon, we went to catch a Broadway matinee. Personally, I am not a fan of the Four Seasons, but I drew this show to attend. I must say, I was very impressed. We did have several of the understudys in the cast, and outside of one instance where a boisterous audience member threw one of them off their lines, you really couldn't tell. The music was well done, and the story was really engaging. A couple of great tidbits along the way (including Joe Pesci and his involvement with the band.) Though I didn't think I'd like it, I was completely wrong, and would recommend this to almost anyone.
If you have come to New York and are looking to take advantage of the theatre scene here, but have not yet purchased your tickets, you might want to consider the option of visiting Duffy Square, the center island of 47th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue for TKTS. TKTS is a booth that sells half-priced tickets to plays on and off-broadway shows (not usually the ones that are sold out regularly or are the biggest draw, but still, usually a good selection). If you do want to take this option, be prepared to get up early and wait in line in order to purchase your tickets. I think when I have done this (it's been years), we would arrive no later than 9:00 am and earlier if possible to get on line and get our pick for the day's matinees. The hours to get evening shows are different, I think. Check the website for a complete list of TKTS operating hours.
The TKTS ticket booth in Times Square has lots of same day tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway shows. You got to get in line and wait for a long bit, but bring your postcards, a book, some kind of game, something to drink and make an event of it.
Cash only! Make sure you read the FAQ at the website.
No trip to New York is complete without seeing a broadway show. I am partial to musicals, but it could be any show that catches your fancy. Ask your concierge about getting good tickets or go online for some great ticket deals :)
When you are in NYC, you SHOULD go to a musical. You will like it.
There are plenty of different shows you could go to. Most shows are on Broadway.
I went to see the musical Chicago. I really LOVED this show. The voices of the people who played the characters were really good, there were funny lines in the play, the whole show was set up great...
The show goes like this:
It is the tale of Roxie Hart. She killed her lover for a career move. After the murder she gets a lawyer (Billy Flynn) who turns Roxie into a celebrity. Roxie is also meeting Velma Kelly, a dancin jailbird with an ear for headlines and an eye for talent.
The musical Chicago is played at the Ambassador Theatre.
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