New York City

Broadway Theatre

Times Square is the heart of the Theater District

Broadway, as its name implies is a big, wide avenue that runs the entire length of Manhattan Island in New York City. It passes through the middle of the Theater district concentrated around Times Square and has lent its name to those spectacular musical productions known as the Broadway play. No visit to New York City would be complete without seeing at least one Broadway musical production.

There are actually three types of Theatrical productions in New York City: Broadway plays, Off-Broadway plays and Off-off-Broadway Plays.

Broadway Theater District with Times Square Traffic © /
Times Square Traffic

On Broadway is located here

Broadway Plays are always performed in the 38 Broadway theaters clustered around Times Square near Broadway between 41st Street and 53rd Street. Most of them are musical productions with spectacular staging extravagant costumes and top quality song and dance performances. Tickets cost between $75 and $130.

Off-Broadway Plays are performed in approximately 50 smaller theaters scattered around Manhattan. The productions may be musicals, comedies or serious dramas and are typically less spectacular than Broadway plays. The talent is usually first class as this is where the future Broadway stars get their experience. Tickets cost between $20 and $50.

Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway is scattered around Manhattan

Off-off-Broadway Plays are performed in about 200 small theaters, lofts, clubs or church halls scattered around New York City. The quality of the production and of the talent varies considerably. Some of the plays are experimental or avant-garde. Tickets cost between $10 and $30.

Tickets are easy to find for most productions and you can even get some real bargains on certain plays. (See below) Tickets for the most popular current hits can be very difficult to find and may require some advanced planning.

You should decide which plays you want to see before going to New York. You can find reviews of most productions in the New York Times newspaper, the New Yorker magazine and on several Broadway web sites. Find the name of the theater where the production is playing, check the price of the tickets and download a seating chart.

Traffic near the Tkts Booth selling discount Broadway tickets © /
Traffic near the Tkts Booth

Buy your tickets in advance for the most popular plays!

Tickets for the hottest new productions of the most popular plays and musicals are often sold out months in advance, so you might want to order your tickets before going to New York. You can call the theater and order the tickets directly. Pay with a credit card and use your seating chart to determine exactly what you are buying. Call well in advance of your visit and pick a less popular mid-week performance or a matinee to increase your chances of getting good seats.

Bargain tickets are available for many On and Off Broadway plays

Bargain Tickets are available for some productions but not the latest popular hits. The visitor and convention bureau on Columbus circle sometimes offers discount coupons for certain productions. Rush tickets are available at discount prices for a few productions at the theater box offices one hour before curtain time. You must go to each individual theater and ask if they sell "rush" tickets.

Tkts has a booth in the middle of Times Square that sells half-price tickets to many productions. Tickets are only available for the same day evening performances and next day matinees. They open from 11 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, they open at 11 AM and close at 4 PM. Be prepared to wait! There are usually long lines of people waiting to purchase tickets at 3 PM. By 5 PM the wait is very short, but the selection more limited. Other Tkts booths can be found at South Street Seaport and Downtown Brooklyn. All booths accept credit cards, cash and travelers checks. I have purchased TKS tickets many times. This is one of the greatest bargains in the Big Apple!

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Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © /
Photo Description: Broadway in New York