New York Theaters, Events and Discounted Tickets
[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - last update 11/25/2014 - www.Littleviews.com ]
>> This article lists where to get reasonably priced and discounted tickets. That said, the official New York City event information site is www.nycvisit.com and a good place to visit for sightseeing and museum discount tickets is www.citypass.net.
Reasonably Priced New York Theater Events
There are several organizations the put on free-to-reasonably priced events, including those known for high ticket prices. Should you go to a small theater group or other low-cost entertainment venue, however, consider leaving an extra donation. Sometimes the best bargain is paying enough to insure a creative, fun-filled tomorrow.
- Lincoln Center Presents Great Performers. Call 212-721-6500 and ask for their Season Calendar, which, if you don't know exactly what you're looking for, is an easier reference to use than their web site.
While ticket prices for Lincoln Center events are usually high, visit www.LincolnCenter.org to hunt for bargain tickets. Here's what to do: Under the search field, click Advanced Search. Select a wide date range (the wider the better) and select "All" under Programs & Organizations. In the Keyword field, type any of the following (but not all at the same time) - free, 10, 15, or 20. The word "free" and the numbers represent the cost of the tickets. Do not include the dollar sign as it makes the search fail.
Also consider signing up for the Lincoln Center organizations you like best. Frequently, these organizations will email you special event information, including steeply discounted opportunities.
- The Moth - Urban Storytelling. Ideas for movies, plays and novels all start out as short stories. In the good old days, before I was born, I've been told that people actually told stories to keep each other entertained. Today's media super-saturation has almost killed that urge except for the existence of the fabulous Moth! Attend Moth events (prices from $5 to $25) where you hear storytellers-in-training to experienced masters (many of whom have written best selling books). I go whenever possible and am always entertained. Good seats, however, are on a first-come, first-served basis, so prepare to stand in line even if you pre-register. www.themoth.org.
- 92nd Street Y. This organization sponsors talks, seminars, music, dance, day trips and more! Call 212-415-5698 to get put on their mailing list (ask for their extensive catalog), or check the NY Times. and TimeOut New York for their most current events. www.92ndsty.org is a fairly comprehensive site, but their thick catalog will absolutely stimulate you with ideas, especially if you like to curl up in bed with this type of reading material.
- Center for Jewish History - Music & Film. As I'm not Jewish, I would have never known about this place except as a friend's guest. It houses a comfortable, mid-sized theater and hosts a wide variety of entertainment, Jewish and secular. I discovered that Jewish folk music is as lively as American Blue Grass and ancient Jewish spiritual music has deep, mesmerizing precessions! Check www.cjh.org. Tickets for live entertainment are $25 and movies, $7. Sign up for mailings by calling 917-606-8200. Union Square area.
- Upright Citizen's Brigade - Improv Comedy. First rate, "TV quality" improv supported by $7 tickets, along with seriously funny raunch. Find out where improv artists learn their stuff and laugh at them while doing so. If you'd like to be part of the act, sign up for one of their "how to" courses. Tip: Get to the theater at least a half hour early (maybe 45 minutes) and prepare to stand outside in line. If you're last in, you'll have to sit on the floor around the stage. www.ucbtheater.com
Discounted New York Theater Events ( to line up for . . . )
If you don't mind standing in line, here are some options:
- TKTS is located in three places, the most exciting of which is in Duffy Square (47th Street and Broadway). Even if you don't want tickets, this location is lively, especially at night when its bright, red steps are illuminated. These same steps provide ample space to sit, too.
Hours: For evening performances: Monday through Saturday at 3pm - 8pm. Sundays: 3pm until one-half hour before the latest curtain time being sold. For matinee performances: Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am - 2pm. Sundays: 11am - 3pm. No evening tickets are sold from 10am to 2 pm at Times Square.
A second location (see map) with much shorter lines is Downtown, near the popular South Street Sea Port at the corner of Front and John Streets.
Hours: For same-day evening and next day matinee performances, Monday - Saturday at 11am - 6pm. Sunday at 11am - 4pm.
A third location is in downtown Brooklyn at the corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue Promenade.
Hours: For same-day evening and next day matinee performances, Tuesday through Saturday at 11am - 6pm. Matinee tickers are always sold at this location the day before the performance.
Visit www.TDF.org for more information about TDF, including other discount programs and email announcements.
- Standing Room Only (SRO) Tickets or "Lottery Rush Tickets" are available at almost all theaters. Arrive at the box office at least two hours before show time. Generally, you'll register by writing down your name, but theaters do have a variety of procedures, so check ahead to find out what's needed. In my experience, if seats are empty a half hour after show time, you can take them. Prices are steeply discounted, falling between $20 and $30.
Discounted New York Theater Events ( the easy way . . . )
OK, for those of you who want discounts delivered to your door or sent via email, make sure you sign up for information at the plays, dances and concerts you attend.
The easiest way to get discounts, however, is to sign up at any or all of the following online discount ticket services. After you identify an appropriate discount code, the best deal is to print the discount offer and bring it to the box office, rather than buy your tickets online. Once at the theater, you get your choice of seats (which you don't get online) and the discount, plus you avoid paying a transaction fee. You must, however, have a printout of the discount offer with you, or else the discount won't be honored.
If you are at the theater and know a valid discount code, but have forgotten to bring your discount offer printout with you, use your cell phone to call it in. I know people who've done this while standing directly outside of the box office! A call-in service charge applies in this situation, but that's better than no discount at all.
- www.SeasonOfSavings.com This discount coupon site is referenced by www.Playbill.com.
- www.PlayBill.com. This site always features discount ticket offers for major plays as well as for restaurants and hotels.
When you sign up as a Playbill club member, you'll receive frequent email on theater specials, including collectables. Playbill.com also features articles on theater history, celebrity buzz, casting and jobs, and seating charts, making it a tremendous resource and a great place to visit.
Most of Playbill.com's offerings are restricted in some way, so don't expect to get cheap seats for a top play on Saturday night. Wednesday is more like it.
- Theater Mania. www.TheatreMania.com provides the best quick reference to what's going on around town, discounted or not. Once on the site, click New York, and when you arrive at the New York Home, click New York Shows & Tickets or Discount Broadway Tickets. Consider joining its Gold Club for steeper discounts.
- TDF Vouchers. Attend off-off Broadway shows for very low prices by using TDF Vouchers, which you purchase online from www.TDF.org. These vouchers are $9 each, sold in packages of four.
- Manhattan Theatre Club. This group's five- to six-play series sells at approximately 35% off regular price. Students get five plays for $100. Call (212) 399-3030 or visit their site at www.mtc-nyc.org. The Manhattan Theatre Club's projects have a history of rave reviews.
- The Theater Development Fund. This organization provides steep discounts for retirees, students, teachers, clergy, performing professionals, union members and members of the armed services. This is the group that also runs TKTS booths (mentioned above) which sell discounted tickets to the general public.(212) 221-0013. www.TDF.org
- Audience Extras. This excellent group provides very discounted tickets to play previews, post openings, off/off-off Broadway theaters, and some deluxe cabarets. Membership is $85 (which lets you purchase up to two tickets at a time) or $135 (which lets you purchase up to four tickets at a time). In addition, you must keep a reserve fund (minimum $30) from which you buy your tickets. Tickets are approximately $3 each. Joining this organization provides the best way that I know of to learn more about New York City's live entertainment. www.audienceextras.com (212) 989-9550.
- High 5 Tickets. This organization offers 90% discounted tickets to middle and senior high school students. Even though adults don't qualify for these discounts, check their phone hotline anyway for event announcements. Every week they highlight five events and all sound like really cool! Call (212) 445-8587 for details. www.high5tix.org.
- BroadwayBox. This organization and its website has been greatly updated since I last reviewed it. It is worth checking out. www.BroadwayBox.com
Hotels, restaurants, visitors centers and other venues sometimes have discount vouchers available for 2-for-1 specials. Don't be shy! Walk into any hotel and explore the lobby for tickets. Two-fors can also be found in newspaper ads, especially around the slow periods, such as during winter.
And by all means, consider joining a subscription series. These are offered by many theatrical groups as well as by groups that perform in major halls like the Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera House, to name a few.
Article and photos by Karen Little. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.