Let Me Entertain You

by Nancy Bestor

DSCN0293I enjoy being entertained. And frankly, I’m easy…..when it comes to entertainment that is. I like most movies I see, and can mindlessly begin watching a television show in the middle of an episode and enjoy it. I can and will read books and magazines of any genre too. So it will come as no surprise that when I’m visiting New York, I love going to live theater. But full price tickets for Broadway and off Broadway productions in the Big Apple are a little steep for my pocketbook, so I’m delighted to share with you the myriad of discount ticket options for NY Theater that I have come across. Then you too can see The Book of Mormon for $32 like I did, standing right behind people who paid upwards of $300 for their tickets.

If you’re following closely, I did say “standing”. Yes, my traveling companions and I bought standing room only tickets to the Book of Mormon in April for $32. And indeed, we stood for the entire show. But frankly, I’m happy to stand for 2 ½ hours at a fraction of the cost paid by those in the orchestra seats, and the standing room only tickets are directly behind the last row of orchestra seats. My feet got a little tired, but during intermission, the kind ushers of the theater guided us SRO ticket holders to a spot where we could sit and rest our weary toes. And the show was so stinking funny that I really forgot I was standing as I laughed uproariously. The folks sitting directly in front of us asked how we got our tickets and what we paid for them, and I daresay, they were a little jealous. Here are the details:

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I started out my search for cheap tickets by looking at the website http://www.broadwayforbrokepeople.com. This site gives excellent information on all Broadway shows, and how one might acquire tickets via lottery, rush, or standing room only. Another great website, http://www.broadwayspotted.com/category/rush-report/, gives weekly reports on the chances of lottery, rush and standing room only tickets for all Broadway shows.

We wanted to see Book of Mormon and, armed with the information gleaned from these websites, knew that we had two chances of getting cheap tickets – standing room only, or actual seats via the pre-show lottery. Both tickets are $32.

We arrived at about 4:30 for the 7:30 curtain to enter our names into the lottery. But our lottery chances were slim as only about 20 lottery tickets are available, and on the day we were there (a light day I was told) about 150-200 people put their names into the hat. However, at the same time we were waiting for the lottery draw, we were also in the first ten of the standing room only line, where about 25 tickets are sold for each show. So at 5:00, when our names were not called for the lottery we simply purchased our standing room tickets, went for a bite to eat, and then came back and enjoyed a hilarious and irreverent show.

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In years past, I’ve also gone to the TKTS booth for day-of-performance half price tickets, and enjoyed excellent and popular shows like In the Heights and Chicago, but keep in mind that a half price ticket is often still in the $80+ range. TKTS also has a mobile phone app to show daily real time availability listings.

With so many discount options, it’s always a bit shocking to me that people are willing to pay as much as $400 for a single ticket to a popular Broadway show. But then again, I’m sure people are shocked to hear that I’m willing to stand and watch a performance for 2 ½ hours. To each their own.

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