My husband and I traveled to New York City this summer hoping to enjoy a few Broadway plays without breaking the bank.
And though we are by no means Big Apple experts, I’d say we did a pretty good job at accomplishing our goal.
During our nine days in the city, we saw both parts of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “My Fair Lady,” all of which we enjoyed thoroughly.
I definitely do not claim to know everything about the best way to do Broadway (far from it), but I hope to share a few things here that helped me make the most of my experience this summer and that others planning a trip to New York City might find useful.
Being the Potterhead that I am, my first choice by far of what to see on Broadway was “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which, by the way, won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Play (and after watching the truly magical production, I can see why).
Also high on my list of plays to see was “Dear Evan Hansen,” which features music by the amazing Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, a songwriting duo known for their work on “The Greatest Showman” and “La La Land,” both of which have made me a huge Pasek and Paul fan.
I also had some interest in a few other plays, with the always charming “My Fair Lady,” one of my favorite musicals, at the top of my second choice list.
We had heard leading up to our vacation that one of the best ways to get inexpensive Broadway tickets was through TKTS, a series of same-day discount Broadway and Off Broadway ticket booths in New York City. So we thought we’d be really smart and wait until we got there to buy all of our tickets.
Turns out TKTS doesn’t sell discounted tickets for the more popular shows that can sell out at full price, like the two I most wanted to see, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” which we should have known in hindsight. Yet there we were, ticketless in New York City, and a bit of panic started to set in.
We explored our options, starting with the digital ticket lotteries. For “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” this is the Friday Forty, which releases 40 tickets every Friday for each performance the following week at $40 each, $20 per part. For “Dear Evan Hansen,” this meant consistently entering same-day drawings for individual matinee and evening performances for a chance at getting up to two tickets at $42 a piece.
We didn’t have much luck with either lottery and looked into trying our hand at the cancellation line. But we were hesitant to invest too much into this option because we also wanted to make the most of our time in New York City and didn’t want to spend a lot of time waiting in line or traveling to and from the box office to check for tickets, which can be a hassle using only public transportation like we were.
A couple days into our trip, we looked up the full-price tickets for the week on the official play websites and lucked out in finding good tickets available for both parts of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “Dear Evan Hansen” for what we thought was a pretty reasonable price.
Considering the opportunity cost, we decided to purchase the tickets at full price. Though it was a bigger expense than we had originally hoped to pay and we likely could have saved money if we had booked our tickets weeks or months in advance, being able to see the plays from decent seats while we were in New York City was totally worth it to me.
With my first choice tickets in hand, we decided to give TKTS a try for “My Fair Lady.” The day we wanted to see the musical, we checked the TKTS mobile app first thing in the morning to determine where and when “My Fair Lady” tickets were being sold and the discount percentage. We then headed to a booth in downtown Brooklyn, which has since closed, hoping that avoiding the main Times Square location would save us some time, and I think it did.
Though we still had to wait in line for a while and didn’t know what tickets would be available and exactly how much they would cost until we were at the window, we found the TKTS discount to be a good option, purchased two tickets and enjoyed seeing the show 11 rows from the stage for about half the regular price.
We planned carefully for each play, so we could pick up our tickets ahead of time, safely guard them until each performance, arrive early for each show and sit comfortably through every second.
Despite the initial cost of the tickets, we didn’t end up paying much more for our Broadway experience, as the playbills provided and pictures we took around the theater before and after the shows made for great souvenirs. I’d also recommend eating before heading to the theater, as the concession prices tend to be pretty steep.
Looking back, I feel completely happy with my Broadway experience. We didn’t spend an exorbitant amount on the tickets, but I’m glad we bit the bullet in paying a little more for good seats while we were there because I definitely would have regretted not seeing the plays.
As I now listen to the “Dear Evan Hansen” soundtrack on repeat once more since our vacation, I’d recommend finding any excuse you can to make a Broadway trip of your own. If you’re anything like me, it’s sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.