See a Broadway Show in New York City

New York City, Manhattan, Theatre District, Times Square, Broadway Ave.

New York City, Manhattan, Theatre District, Times Square, Broadway Ave.

New York City is one of my favorite places to visit for so many of the things that I like about visiting a big city.  There are restaurants in every variety possible and premier shopping from department stores that aren’t at home to funky little shops. There are world class museums, historical sites, and architecture sure to inspire the “ah” factor.  There’s also the theater – with Broadway theaters numbering around 40, there’s plenty to choose from – a popular choice for visitors and residents alike.

Theater in New York dates back to the mid-1700s with resident companies performing Shakespearean plays and ballad operas.  As is often the case in business, one theater led to another, and the performances expanded and evolved to include comedic farces, minstrel shows, musical entertainment, opera, variety shows, and melodramas.  Theater was often another example of class warfare as offerings were seen as snobby and stuff or decidedly lower class, but as it evolved it became entrenched in the cultural life of the city.  The Times Square area became home to theater in the early 1900s in large part due to the cheap rents available there, and it was around this time that musical theater (encompassing song, dance, and plot) became a popular form of entertainment.

Palace Theater

Fast forward to today and you can find a Broadway show running any time you’re in NYC.  The label “Broadway” show refers to any production in the Theater District (Times Square area) at a theater with over 500 seats.  Each theater will have one night of the week that it is dark (closed), with performances offered other nights of the week and matinees likely on the weekends.  Live music remains a hallmark of Broadway performances – you may remember a musicians strike over that issue – with the size of the orchestra varying based on the size of the theater.  That’s the interior of the Palace Theater, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, in photo above.

A Broadway show provides some of the best live entertainment around, and it’s no wonder that it is one of the most requested tourist activities for visitors to New York.  It doesn’t come cheap, though, with ticket prices often close to $100.  You can purchase tickets through the theater (in person or online) or through various ticket websites.

If prices are out of your price range, one option for finding lower prices is TKTSTKTS provides deeply discounted (20-60%), same-day ticket purchases at its booths in Times Square, South Street Seaport (lower Manhattan), and downtown Brooklyn.  I have often purchased theater tickets from the TKTS booth in Times Square, easily found by the line queuing up in Father Duffy Square (Broadway & 47th).  The booth opens at 3 pm (2 pm on Tuesdays) and the line forms very quickly.  If you want the best selection, seats and shows, get their VERY early.  Of course, if you want all those things you may want to buy your tickets in advance and not leave it to chance, but if you’re flexible and open, you can get a good buy here.  I’ve also had good luck making a last minute decision to go to a show and have popped over to the booth at the last minute.  My experience has been that about an hour before show time there’s not much of a line and you can buy tickets fairly quickly.  Of course, the selection may not be much either, but I’ve scooped up discounted tickets to some great performances this way.

The Lion King on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre

Another way to get discounted Broadway tickets is to find a value priced hotel package that includes tickets.  Still, if Broadway tickets are still out of your price range, consider Off Broadway or Off-Off Broadway.  In addition to experimental, niche, and often controversial productions, many Broadway shows got their start at smaller venues.

Here are some highlights of what’s on Broadway for this fall (listed alphabetically by production):

  • Anything Goes – Stephen Sondheim Theatre, 124 West 43rd Street.  Winner of the 2011 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.  Ticket prices start at $87.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Baby It’s You – Broadhurst Theatre, 235 West 44th Street.  Tickets start at $48.50.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Billy Elliot – Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street.  Winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical.  Ticket prices start at $41.50.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Bonnie & Clyde – Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 West 45th Street.  Preview performances start in November with opening night on December 1st, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $66.50.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Catch Me If You Can – Neil Simon Theatre, 20 West 52nd Street.  Ticket prices start at $62.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Chicago – Ambassador Theatre, 219 West 49th Street.  Winner of the 1997 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.  Ticket prices start at $69.  Theater is dark on Wednesday.  (NOTE:  This is the very first Broadway show that I went to and it is responsible for re-kindling my love of theater.)
  • Follies – Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway.  This production is currently in previews with opening night on September 12th, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $57.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Godspell – Circle in the Square, 1633 Broadway.  This production starts preview performances in October 2011 with opening night on November 7th, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $125.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Hair – St. James Theatre, 246 West 44th Street.  Winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, and also a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Ticket prices start at $37. Theater is dark on Sunday.
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 West 45th Street.  Ticket prices start at $52.  Theater is dark on Monday.  (NOTE:  If you want to know what Daniel Radcliffe did after the Harry Potter movies came to an end, here’s your answer.)
  • Jersey Boys – August Wilson Theatre, 245 West 5nd Street.  Winner of the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical.  Ticket prices start at $97.  Theater is dark on Monday.  (NOTE:  I’ve seen this story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons numerous times in numerous places; it’s on my highly recommended list.)
  • Lysistrata Jones – Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 West 48th Street.  This classic Greek play is given a modern sports twist with preview performance starting in November with opening night on December 14th, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $97.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Mamma Mia! – Winter Garden Theatre, 1634 Broadway.  Ticket prices start at $69.50.  Theater is dark on Tuesday.  (NOTE:  Even if you aren’t a fan of ABBA, you may find yourself enjoying and humming along.)
  • Mary Poppins – New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 West 42nd Street.  Ticket prices start at $62.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Memphis – Shubert Theatre, 225 West 44th Street.  Winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical.  Ticket prices start at $41.50.  Theater is dark on Monday.  (NOTE:  This is another one that I’ve saw Memphis here in Seattle for its pre-Broadway performances.  It’s another on my highly recommended list.)
  • On a Clear Day – St. James Theatre, 246 West 44th Street.  This production stars Harry Connick Jr. and starts preview performances in November with opening night on December 11th, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $64.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Other Desert Cities – Booth Theatre, 222 West 45th Street.  Preview performances begin in October with opening night on November 3rd, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $80.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Porgy and Bess – Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 West 46th Street.  This production starts previews in December with opening night on January 12th, 2012.  Ticket prices start at $85.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Priscilla Queen of the Desert – Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway.  Ticket prices start at $52.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Private Lives – Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th Street.  This limited production is in previews for a week or so before its opening night on November 16th, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $66.50.  Limited run, check with theater for performance dates.
  • Relatively Speaking – Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 West 47th Street.  This production, a series of 3 one-act comedies from Ethan Coen, Elaine May and Woody Allen, starts preview performances in September with opening night on October 20th, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $87.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Rock of Ages – Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 West 44th Street.  Tickets start at $70.  Theater is dark on Wednesday.
  • Sister Act – Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway.  Ticket prices start at $ 51.50.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark – Foxwoods Theatre, 213 West 42nd Street.  Ticket prices start at $69.50.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Stick Fly – Cort Theatre, 138 West 48th Street.  This comedy starts preview performance in November with opening night on December 8th, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $35.  Theater is dark on Wednesday.
  • The Addams Family – Lunt-Fontaine Theatre, 205 West 46th Street.  Ticket prices start at $57.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • The Book of Mormon – Eugene O’Neill Theatre, 230 West 49th Street.  Ticket prices start at $69.  Theater is dark on Monday.  (NOTE:  Irreverent humor from the creators of South Park.)
  • The Lion King – Minskoff Theatre, 200 West 45th Street.  Winner of the 1998 Tony Award for Best Musical.  Ticket prices start at $80. Theater is dark on Monday.
  • The Mountaintop – Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street.  This production tells the story of the night before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and start preview performances in September with opening night October 13th, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $76.50.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • The Phantom of the Opera – Majestic Theatre, 247 West 44th Street.  Winner of the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical.  Ticket prices start at $66.50.  Theater is dark on Tuesday.  (NOTE:  This is another one of my favorites.  No matter how many times I’ve seen it, it still moves me.)
  • Venus in Fur – Samuel J Friedman Theatre, 261 West 47th Street.  Opens for preview performances in October with opening night on November 8th, 2011.  Ticket prices start at $67.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • War Horse – Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 150 West 65th Street.  Ticket prices start at $75.  Theater is dark on Monday.
  • Wicked – Gershwin Theatre, 222 West 51st Street.  Ticket prices start at $77.  Theater is dark on Monday.

Cautionary note:  This is, by no mean, an all inclusive listing of what you’ll find on Broadway this fall.  I have tried to include a variety of currently running and soon to open shows to give you an idea of the variety you’ll find on Broadway, and while it is accurate and current as of the date of publication, show business is ever changing.  Check with the theater or show websites for updated information regarding cast, show times , ticket prices and availability, along with bits and pieces of other information.  Things can and do change.  While there are plenty of legitimate discount ticket options available, use caution to avoid buying counterfeit tickets.

What do you want to see on Broadway this fall?

Photo credit:  Vincent Desjardins (Times Square); Jeff Rosen (interior of Palace Theatre); Loren Javier (The Lion King at Minskoff Theatre).  All via flickr.

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine proving informational and inspirational travel recommendations for curious Baby Boomer travelers. She is the Conference Director for TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange), has been a speaker at various industry events, and has a personal travel blog at Traveling with MJ. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Mary Jo's most recent travel has been Athens and Cancun.

3 Responses to “See a Broadway Show in New York City”

  1. Henry Williams September 7, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    i always wanted to see the broadway show

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