New York City can be expensive. Whether you’re a tourist, a student, or a long-time resident, saving money in New York can be difficult. A large part of the city dynamic, history, and culture is entertainment, also stigmatized as the most expensive aspect. Performances are not as expensive as they appear; there are different ways to save money, and enjoy the traditional city culture.
Don’t isolate yourself to Broadway shows. There’s a myriad of performance options. A booming and enjoyable NYC industry is the comedy industry. NBC Comcast Universal has multiple, free late night comedy shows that anyone can see live. Standby tickets are distributed weekdays and weekends for various shows such as Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Saturday Night Live. Granted, seeing these shows will include dedicating a day to waiting in line, but also entail laughter. Popular comedy, late night and daily shows such as these are not the only inexpensive comedy shows in New York City. The Upright Citizens Brigade is a training center for improvisational theater, that was founded by well-known comedians such as Amy Poehler. UCB has comedy shows almost every night, ranging from improving, to stand-up, to sketch comedy. Most shows cost five to eight dollars and run an hour. Shows will sometimes run back to back, and if one isn’t enough you can stay later and watch the next show.
If comedy isn’t your forte, sitting in a Broadway theater can be inexpensive. The solution? Rush tickets. Many Broadway shows offer limited rush tickets every morning (when the box office opens,) the day of a performance. Depending on the show, their website will indicate if rush tickets are offered. Typically you would arrive before the box office opens in the morning, at the front of the theater and purchase the ticket. I would suggest arriving one to two hours early depending on the popularity of the show. Rush tickets are around $40.00 (You can buy two tickets per person) and depending on what is available it isn’t rare for a rush seat to be in the orchestra. Some shows currently offering rush tickets are The Great Comet, Sunday in the Park with George, A Bronx Tale, Aladdin, and Beautiful the Carole King Musical. If a Broadway show does not offer rush seats, there is also a strong chance that they offer standing seats for about the same price, maybe less. These also require getting to the theater in the morning and waiting. For example, The Book of Mormon does not have rush tickets, but they offer standing room for $27.00. They also have a lottery, along with many popular shows, but lotteries can be unreliable.
If you are looking for a musical, drama, or comedy for cheap prices, New York City has plenty. Experience the performance city culture and don’t let prices be an obstacle. Inexpensive entertainment is everywhere, enjoy it and take advantage of it.