One of the biggest reasons people come to the Big Apple is to see a Broadway show. But in a sea of choices, how do you decide on the best one? Some people want to tick off items on their bucket list and come specifically for the long-standing musicals that have stood the test of time, like The Lion King or The Phantom of the Opera.
Others want to try their luck at the TKTS Discount Booth in Times Square, where the price for same-day tickets can be slashed by up to 50 percent. This is a great option if you want to save a little cash and enjoy the unpredictability of it—the offerings are different from day to day, so you won’t ever be totally sure what you’ll see.
And by the way, a matinee performance pairs perfectly with a Food Truck and Cart tour with Nice Guy Tours. The tour ends at 1:30 p.m. at the TKTS Booth so you have plenty of time to get to your afternoon performance.
So, if you’re going for discount tickets, here are a few tips. The TKTS Booth in Times Square opens for matinee ticket sales at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and 11:00 a.m. on Sundays. Those are typically the three days of the week that matinees are offered, although always check the particular schedule of any show you want to see because times vary.
Aim to get in line around 9:30 a.m. and come with an open mind and a sense of adventure. You won’t know exactly what will be offered at discount prices until they open. I recommend downloading the TKTS Mobile App a week or so beforehand. Check the app every day for an idea of what productions are going for half price. You’ll start to see a trend and be able to make predictions based what’s been available in recent days.
Here’s a sample of recent half-price offerings:
A Bronx Tale
Based on the 1993 film starring Robert De Niro, A Bronx Tale tells the story of a young man growing up in the mob-ruled world of the 1960s Bronx. Expect some variations from the movie, but two of the film’s stars do heavily influence the play: De Niro co-directs and it was written by Chazz Palminteri, whose real life the story is based on.
This is a musical for people who love glitter and sparkle, and also Cyndi Lauper, whose talents won her a Tony for Best Original Score. Kinky Boots is a heartwarming tale is about the friendship between two men who could not be more different from each other. It is musical theater at its best, which means you’ll want to break out into song along with the stars on stage.
Once On This Island
This is a sweet love story about a poor girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy, and all the drama that forbidden love creates. The tenacious peasant girl, Ti Moune, enlists the help of powerful island gods to help her track down the boy she loves, and the story is set against the backdrop of the easy island rhythms of the Caribbean.
Based on a movie of the same name starring Keri Russell, Waitress is an inspiring story about a woman who finds herself in a bad marriage, and who sees her talent for making incomparable pies as her only way out. Six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles wrote the original music and lyrics to this age-old story about a woman remaking herself just when she least expected she would have to.
Avenue Q is an off-Broadway, coming-of-age tale about a college grad named Princeton. Princeton is a puppet and yes, this is the play with the puppets that spout four-letter words, and sing about racism, coming out, and the dirty materials that a creature can find on the Internet. The play is hilarious, and you simply forget that there are people controlling the puppets because the talent is astonishing.
After years on Broadway, this beloved musical is now running off-Broadway. The cast is smaller by four, but that and a smaller theater also means better overall seats, and lower ticket prices. Jersey Boys tells the true story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and even if you’re not of their generation, you won’t be able to help but love the dance numbers and legendary songs, including “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”
I hope whatever you see is amazing, but the only thing I can guarantee you is this: if you take my Food Truck and Cart Tour beforehand, you won’t have to worry about food during your show.