I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions. It seems that I always start off all gung-ho at the beginning, but by February, I’ve lost my drive to achieve whatever it was that I set out to do. But this year, I’ll be different, because instead of vowing to change something about myself, I’ve decided that I will strive to do more of something that I love to do. This year, I resolve to see more shows.
My motivation for this particular resolution is not simply for my own selfish enjoyment, nor is it for a budding (but not yet lucrative) career as a theater critic. I will stick to this resolution because it will a) support the economy and b) support the arts.
Let’s face it. The recent past has not been kind to regional or Broadway theaters. Many of Connecticut’s own non-profit theaters are struggling for additional money, with grant money and regular donors seemingly tapped out in our struggling economy. Add to that the erroneous thinking that going to the theater is a frivolous expense, and you will find consumers spending their few entertainment dollars in what may seem to be a less exalted manner.
I believe we need to challenge this thinking. I have always believed that societies need art to survive. We need to think, to be challenged, to be presented with new ideas and yes, even to just be entertained and be allowed to take our minds off our troubles. We need to expose our young to dramatic and performing arts, so that they will learn the rich heritage of music and theater that the world has to offer and will be able to perhaps carry on the tradition for future generations. We need to keep the theater world alive with the dollars needed to put on the productions and the dollars needed to carry on the tradition of expanding our knowledge about our world and about ourselves through performing arts.
So how can we do this, when our own belts have been tightened, and our wallets constrained by day-to-day living expenses? This will not be an easy resolution to keep. Luckily, there are ways to help keep live theater affordable even in these lean times.
First off, try to stay local. There are church groups, high schools, colleges, and local community organizations that not only educate youngsters in theater arts but also put on some fine shows that are usually highly enjoyable, if not highly spirited. Beyond that, many community and regional theaters also offer shows for children and adults. Connecticut residents can experience live theater at The Quick Center, Edgerton Center, Downtown Cabaret Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Yale Rep, Curtain Call Theater in Stamford, The Bushnell in Hartford, The Shubert Theater in New Haven, The Goodspeed Opera House, The Ivoryton Playhouse, The Fairfield Theatre Company, The Palace Theater in Waterbury, The Hartford Stage, Playhouse on the Green, Stamford Center for the Arts, Square One Theater, Westport Country Playhouse and many others. The possibilities are endless.
If you feel you have to go to New York to see a show, try an off-off Broadway or off-Broadway show. And look for those not-so-hidden discounts that are available to make those tickets more affordable.
One of my favorite discount ticket sites is www.broadwaybox.com. This site offers discount codes for Broadway and off-Broadway shows. Some restrictions may apply, but it has always worked out well for me. You can also find discount codes at websites like playbill.com and www.theatermania.com. All you have to do is present the code at the box office or to Telecharge or Ticketmaster, and you will receive the discount.
In addition to ticket discounts, some theaters offer student rush tickets or rush tickets for anyone the day of the performance. Some theaters also still offer SRO – Standing Room Only tickets. You can visit talkinbroadway.com or playbill.com for more information.
If you don’t mind waiting in line for tickets, you can always visit one of New York’s famous TKTS booths. The Theatre Development Fund operates three TKTS Booths in New York City:
1. The Times Square Booth sells day-of-performance tickets only.
2. The South Street Seaport Booth sells tickets to evening performances on the day of the performance, and matinee tickets the day before.
3. The Downtown Brooklyn Booth sells tickets to evening performances on the day of the performance, and matinee tickets the day before as well tickets to Brooklyn performing arts events.