An integral part of spending a weekend in New York City and enhancing the cultural experience is seeing a show. Here are tips to Broadway and off-Broadway for kids.
Broadway for less
For one week in January (9-15, 2015), Kids Go Free to select Broadway shows in New York with the purchase of an adult ticket. If you’re lucky enough to be near New York during this week, buy your tickets now, as they go on sale today (November 5, 2014 at 11 am EST).
BroadwayBox.com offers coupon codes to shows that can save you up to 50% off (but usually more like 20-25%.) Click on the show you want to see to check out today’s offers. They also offer exclusive discounts for email subscribers.
If your kids are the patient kind, you can line up at the TKTS store on Times Square. TKTS offers tickets to shows at about 50% off, but they sell out as the go, so you won’t know which show you’ll be able to purchase tickets to until the last minute. Be prepared for a long line, especially if you show up after 11. I’ve waited in this line for over 2 hours before, so you’ll need to prepare. Many families have the parents take turns standing in line while the other parent shops and explores with the kids. You can check out the frequency of discounts as well as appropriate ages for shows at the TKTS website (run by the Theater Development Fund).
Consider seeing an off- or off- off- Broadway show. Ticket prices can be as little as $9 for the shows and some are extremely family-friendly. Additionally, many have up- and coming-performers and a much smaller venue, making all of the seats close and the feeling more engaging. Check out the TDF Guide to Family Live Performances.
A show is much more than just something to watch. By enjoying a show, your family will learn cultural and historical references, engage in comprehension activities and learn appreciation for the culture of theater. Here are a few great resources for educational expansion of a Broadway show experience.
Kids Night on Broadway offers Study Guides, resources, and a souvenir Playbill.
Before you go
From the lights to the costumes to the music and audience, there is so much to observe during a show. It’s helpful for kids’ comprehension to know a bit about the story before hand. Try to purchase the music ahead of time to prepare your children. If the story is available in book format, read it with your child.
When the show is over
Don’t let the show end and the conversation stop. Discuss what you loved about the show.
- Who was your favorite character?
- What surprised you?
- Did everyone sound and look the same as you expected?
- How did the Broadway version differ from the book?
- If you could be a part of a play, what would you want to be? Why?
- Was there an actor or actress that surprised you? What did they do?
- Did you sneak a peek at anything back stage? Probe your children to notice all that goes into a show, from the make-up artists to the orchestra, stage hands and ushers–they’re all an integral part of the show.
- And, my favorite question: What song is stuck in your head right now? Let’s sing it!
© 2014, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.