Monster deals in theater
Thu Oct 25 2007
Free theater? This fall? Without a B-list celeb doing Shakespeare in the Park? You have options—check out our Theater section (duh!) or find them at Club freeTime (clubfreetime.com; it only sounds like a Croatian dating site). For $2.95 a month (paid via PayPal), you can search detailed listings of free movies, concerts and plays—or be a real cheapo and just browse the titles (given gratis, without any detail) and then Google them separately (to find out more information). Using that technique, we learned about a staged reading of The Taming of the Shrew at the Inwood branch of the Public Library (Nov 10) and “A Little Night Music: Celebration of Stephen Sondheim” at the Shop at CAP21 (Mon 29). Devious, but we’ll do anything—anything—for musicals.
For less than a buck (no joke—there’s not even a service charge), you can get a Sunday ticket to any main-stage production at Soho Rep, thanks to a new program. “I’m always looking for how to take the ticket price out of the equation for young audiences,” says artistic director Sarah Benson, who adds that 99¢ tickets to her latest, John Jesurun’s Philoktetes, an adaptation of the classic Greek myth, sold out in three days. A new batch will be available early November for their next show, No Dice from Nature Theater of Oklahoma. “It’s a great business model: The more we do, the more we lose,” Benson says with a laugh. “The box office is a piece of the pie, but it’s a small piece—we have good fund-raisers, so we don’t rely on it.”
Benson’s not the only one offering a bargain. The New York Theater Workshop (nytw.org) sells $20 Sunday tickets to Molière’s The Misanthrope, and although that’s sold out, you can start saving your Jacksons for their next show: Mikhail Baryshnikov in “Beckett Shorts,” on sale November 3.
And even your dog knows about the Theater Development Fund’s TKTS discount booths, where you can get tix for $20 and up (tdf.org). We suggest hitting the South Street Seaport location—it’s less crowded. But there’s also a way to figure out what’s on sale before you go: TKTS offers tickets for lower-grossing productions, so find who was hurting lately (we’re eyeballing you, twisty stamp drama Mauritius). Weekly grosses are available at broadwayworld.com/grosses.cfm.
Spending full price for a Broadway show: You don’t need much advice there. But it helps to know that the cheapest—The Phantom of the Opera ($20), The Drowsy Chaperone ($25), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ($25), A Bronx Tale ($26.25) and The Color Purple ($26.50)—are often also the most poorly attended. One recent week, Chaperone only had 59.3 percent attendance, leaving you room to buy a ticket and then move right up front. (It’s not classy, but we’ll do anything—anything—for musicals.)
And there’s at least one okay deal on Broadway, too: You can see Young Frankenstein, right now, for $26.50 cash, if you’re lucky, thanks to a lottery. The day of the show, the Hilton Theatre box office accepts entries (one per person; two tix tops per entry). Then, two hours before, a drawing is held at the McDonald’s across the street. (Hey, at least the producers aren’t hiding their McBroadway intentions.) Your odds of scoring tix are unclear, since the official drawings hadn’t started at press time, but one early lottery during previews attracted 500 entrants for the first row.
If you decide you want to see Jersey Boys and sit in the front row and you absolutely must go tomorrow night, you can. But it’ll cost you $604 per person. Sites like StubHub have deals like that and now you can pick up tickets at their new storefront at 1440 Broadway (at 40th Street)—making last-minute purchases possible.