With the 2013–14 Broadway season in full swing, much of the attention is on the musicals and plays that are the heart of the Great White Way. But there’s so much to do in the Theatre District before or after a performance. Even the most savvy New Yorkers and out-of-towners can benefit from tips on how to enhance your Broadway experience.
Create a Group
If you can gather as few as 12 theatergoers, you can often qualify for 10- to 30-percent discounts, early bird rates, seasonal discounts, student rates, and more.
Group sales also offers other extras, including advice on which shows would be most appropriate for the ages and interests of your group. Group sales can also help ensure your group will be seated together.
Brian Harasek, client relations manager at Nederlander Sales and Patron Services, recommends calling as soon as possible. “The earlier you call, the more options you’ll have. Don’t assume a show will be sold out or out of your price range,” he says.
Group sales can also arrange special events for your group, such as receptions in the theatre lobby before or after the show that can sometimes include appearances by cast members, as well as cast and production team talkbacks after the show for a donation to Broadway Cares.
To find out more, visit Nederlander Sales & Patron Services or call 1-800-714-8452.
Enhance the Experience
Many organizations offer ways to enhance your visit to a Broadway show. Here are just a few:
Camp Broadway Workshops
Ever wonder how a Broadway performer prepares before getting up on that stage to sing and dance? A Camp Broadway workshop gives your group of 20 or more kids and adults the chance to not just find out, but to get up on your feet and do it.
Led by Broadway performers, choreographers, and musical directors, each workshop puts your group through the paces of learning, rehearsing, and performing a Broadway number — maybe from the very show your group is going to see.
“For 17 years, our workshop participants have told us how much they appreciate the unique, customized, professionally designed authentic experience they get with Camp Broadway,” says Melissa Caolo, managing director. “Workshops are our core business, so we provide the highest quality workshop experience in the industry.” For more information, visit Camp Broadway.
Behind the Emerald Curtain
Take a tour of an exclusive museum of actual props, wigs, and costumes from the hit show Wicked, guided by Wicked cast members. Ask the questions about Wicked and theatre in general you’ve always wanted answers to. Even if you haven’t seen Wicked, this event is fascinating for its unveiling of the complexities of putting on a Broadway show. It’s perfect for groups and individuals ages 10 and older. Get more info.
When you take a Walkin’ Broadway tour, you get both a knowledgeable guide and recorded narration and music on headsets. Combined, they offer everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Broadway’s history, architecture, music, and humor. Find out more.
The Times Square Museum & Visitor Center
The Times Square Museum & Visitor Center is not only the place to get information on New York tourist attractions, but it’s a tourist attraction itself. See the New Year’s Eve Centennial Ball, which dropped from One Times Square to ring in 2007. It simulates the countdown on New Year’s Eve every hour on the hour and at :05, :25, and :45 past. Get more details.
While you’re in Times Square, be sure to check out these one-of-a-kind places to shop:
The Drama Book Shop
This is where theatre professionals go when they need copies of plays both old and new. The store, in business since 1923, has 8,000 plays in stock. It’s the only bookstore to have its own Tony Award for Excellence in the Theater. See the statuette close up — it’s on display in the store. The store has a website, but one of the perks of visiting Times Square is getting to shop in person. It’s at 250 West 40th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.
If you have a dancer in your group, a stop at Capezio’s flagship store is a must. You’ll find an endless selection of clothing and shoes, plus the Theatricals Museum Wall, with custom designs for a variety of Broadway shows. It’s in the heart of Times Square: 1650 Broadway at 51st Street on the 2nd floor. Get more info.
Ricky’s is one-stop shopping for makeup, hair care products, and costumes. With multiple locations throughout New York City, you’re never far from the tools of the theatrical trade. Find store locations and more info.
Discovery Times Square
Billed as “the destination for discovery through unique and immersive exhibits,” this unique exhibition center has something for everyone. Current exhibitions:
“The Art of the Brick” is the biggest display of LEGO art ever, all created by artist Nathan Sawaya. CNN called it “one of the ten global must-see exhibitions.”
In “Body Work: Pulse,” a groundbreaking process called Plastination preserves the body after its skin has been removed and allows it to be exhibited for the education and fascination of those who visit.
“Shipwreck! Pirates and Treasure” includes more than 500 artifacts recovered from shipwrecks, including millions of dollars worth of gold and silver. According to its website, you can even dig for treasure with a real robotic arm.
Bryant Park and the New York Public Library
Craving some quiet? Bryant Park (http://www.bryantpark.org) and the Fifth Avenue branch of the New York Public Library and its iconic stone lions guarding its 15 millions items are just a quick walk from the heart of Times Square.