While there are plenty of iconic spots in New York City, perhaps none is more recognizable than Times Square. Times Square is a commercial center of the city, but it’s also known as the home of one of the world’s most beloved cultural institutions: the broadway theater. People from all over the world flock to see Broadway shows where skilled actors, writers, dancers and musicians regularly showcase their talents. If you want to come to NYC to see a Broadway show, here’s everything you need to know.
Picking a Show
More than a dozen shows play on Broadway at any given time. Check out Broadway.com to see which musicals and plays will be showing when you’re there, and then select a show or two you want to see. Musicals tend to be longer than plays, at around 2.5 to 3 hours, while plays are often about 1.5 to 2 hours long. Also, consider whether you’re bringing kids to a show and if the subject matter is appropriate for them.
The easiest way to get tickets for any show is to visit the website of the play or musical and click on the virtual box office. If you’re looking for discount tickets, though, keep in mind that TKTS is one of the best resources in the city. Each day, same-day, discounted tickets become available for Broadway shows. You can visit a TKTS booth at either Times Square, Lincoln Center or South Street Seaport. You may have to wait in a line, but the wait is worth it when you can see world-class theater at a very affordable price.
If a show is sold out, there are often other options for getting tickets, such as a ticket resale website. You may have to pay an increased price, but you can often find seats. Also, you can visit a theater box office in-person to see if they have standing-room-only seats on the day of the show. Also, many shows offer cancellation tickets a few hours before the show, and you can line up to get these tickets directly from the box office. Finally, most shows have a ticket lottery, both in-person and online. Enter both, and you might be selected to see the show from excellent seats, all for a very cheap price.
Getting to the Theater
What many theatergoers don’t realize is that if you have tickets, there’s no need to arrive at the theater more than 10 to 15 minutes before the show starts. People who get there early will end up waiting in a long line on the sidewalk before the theater doors open and patrons are let in.
Just show up to the theater (double-check the address), where an usher will help you to your seat. Make sure you’ve used the restroom beforehand, though, so you won’t have to wait in a long line just as the show is starting! Also, you can dress up for the theater, or you can come in casual clothes. Today, the theater dress code is this: look put together and appropriate, but don’t worry about being fancy. Just wear something that allows you to be comfortable sitting in a seat for a couple of hours!
Post-Show: Meeting the Stars
If you want to meet the stars of your Broadway show after you see it, you’re in luck. Simply head out of the theater doors and down the block to the theater’s stage door. Each theater has a stage door with barricades lining it, and the stars of the show will come out and sign autographs after the show’s over. Often, you can also snag a picture with the actors while they sign your playbill.