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Your Complete Guide To Watching Broadway Plays in New York City
The pomp and pizzazz of a Broadway Musical is sure something, but one can’t overlook the goodness of a power packed Broadway Play. No frills - just a gripping plot and powerful performances. The best of plays on Broadway have grossed even more than their musical counterparts in the last couple of years!
These literary productions take the form of Comedy, Dramas, Epics, Romance, Satire, Tragedy and other genres such as Erotic, Nonsense, Lyric, Mythopoeia and Tragicomedy. If you’re looking for a roller coaster of a performance on Broadway, grab tickets to one of the many plays currently running in the Theatre District. You can rarely go wrong with a Broadway Play!
Broadway Plays Vs Broadway Musicals
This is a common confusion among most Broadway first-timers - what is the difference between a Broadway play and Broadway musical? While the difference is a little muddy, Broadway plays portray a story using dialogues, while musicals do it with song. Plays focus on the spoken word, while musicals set those words singing and dancing.
However, there are certain plays that incorporate music and sometimes even choreography—such as Brian Friel’s play Dancing at Lughnasa. And, many musicals feature dialogues that are not always sung through, like Les Misérables.
In conclusion, plays feature more dialogues and less music while musicals feature songs and choreographies more than spoken words.
Choosing The Right Broadway Plays
Plays that make it to Broadway are a class apart, but finding the right play that suits your taste takes some effort. Whether you want comedy, romedy, crime or fantasy - you have plethora to choose from. Here are a few things to keep in mind while choosing a Broadway Play.
There are romantic comedies, slapstick comedies and just good ol’ comedy. Which genre do you enjoy the most? Depending on the company and interest, choose a genre that won’t bore you. Phantom of the Opera is sometimes not everybody’s cup of tea!
Broadway Vs Off Broadway
The only difference between Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters is simply the number of seats in the theater. Theaters that can house more than 499 seats are considered Broadway Theaters and those with a seating capacity of 99 to 499 seats are considered Off-Broadway. In no way are Off-Broadway plays any less promising than Broadway shows. Don’t be afraid to opt for an Off-Broadway play if the plot sounds interesting.
Broadway Plays can be an expensive affair. This does not mean you have to keep it for later. There are certain shows like The Inheritance and To Kill a Mockingbird that sell tickets for as cheap as 40$!
Popular Seats Sell Out Fast:
Yes! The Orchestra and Front Mezzanine seats sell like hot cakes, especially for new shows. If you’re interested in a good viewing experience, make sure you grab them in advance online.
Most Famous Broadway Plays
Plays that have won multiple Tonys, critically acclaimed hits and the audience’s favourites - these Broadway Plays are the perfect concoct of a stellar plot, gripping drama and astounding sets. Tickets to these famous Broadway plays promise an experience of a lifetime!
Best Broadway Plays For Kids
Keeping your little ones entertained is no task with such a fun variety of plays currently playing on Broadway. Whether you have a toddler or pre-teen, these Broadway Plays are made for kids. Not to mention, you’ll love them too!
Highest Grossing Broadway Play
To Kill a Mockingbird is Broadway’s Highest-Grossing Play. Grab tickets To Kill A
Mockingbird today >>
As of 2019, To Kill a Mockingbird pulled in $94,444,101. The overall highest-grossing week in history for any non-musical on Broadway belongs to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. While Broadway musicals like Frozen, Hamilton and The Lion King are constant box office record breakers, it’s rare for a non-musical play to earn such big sales.
Best Off-Broadway Plays
Off-Broadway Plays won’t burn a whole in your pocket and at the same time offers an intimate theatre experience with fewer crowds. Not a bad deal, eh? These are our top picks for the best off-broadway plays currently running in the theatre district.
Broadway Plays That Won Tony Awards
The Tony Award for Best Play, also known as the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre is an annual award given to the best new (non-musical) play on Broadway. Plays that have appeared previously on Broadway productions are not eligible for this award, but for the Best Revival of a Play. In 2018, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child bagged the award and in 2019, The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth won the award.
While very few past Tony Award winners for the Best Broadway Play are still running, here are the plays that were nominated in the past and are still running on Broadway.
Essential Tips For Watching Broadway Plays
If this is your first Broadway Play experience, here are a few tips for a seamless experience.
A quick tip for discounted Broadway tickets would be to watch out for pre-sale discounts on new shows. If you don’t have strict schedules, then catching an early performance of a new show can be cost-effective. Not to forget, it probably has the potential to be the next Wicked or Hamilton!
Always double check the time on your ticket and plan to arrive at least 30-45 minutes prior to the show to give yourself plenty of time to settle down. Sometimes the lines can be long and it could take you a good 15 minutes to enter the theatre.
If you’re picking up tickets at the “will call” window, make sure you go 45 minutes in advance and arrive at the right door. Some theatres have a separate entrance for will call tickets and other ticket holders. If you’re unsure, check with an usher who can direct you.
The doors open half an hour before the start of the musical. Arrive around 35 minutes early so you don’t have to spend time in queues and you can walk in early and get settled comfortably.
While there is no official dress code to attend a Broadway play, most people dress up and make a night of it. While gowns and tuxedos are a bit of a stretch, dressing up for a Saturday night out or a Sunday brunch has become the norm over the years. However, if you feel like going to jeans and a tee, no one is going to deny you entry.
An increasing number of theatres are no longer allowing late seating. If you arrive after the curtain rises, you’ll have to watch the show on a monitor in the lobby until intermission.
Avoid driving to the theatre at all costs. Parking spots in the Theatre district are hard to find and very expensive. Taking the subway or the bus is recommended.
Photography and Videography are strictly prohibited during the course of a Broadway play. It’s unlawful and distracting.
Make sure you turn off your phone or put it on airplane mode. Alarms, pings and calls can distract the performers and your fellow audience members.
For those with Standing Room Only Tickets, you’re likely to be standing for 90 minutes to two hours. Comfortable shoes are recommended for a comfortable experience.
Theater etiquette asks that you do not leave when actors are making their curtain calls. Stick around for the extra few minutes and be a part of the audience appreciates the performers.
Try and squeeze in your Broadway plans during Broadway Week (it goes on for a month) which lets you buy 2 tickets to most Broadway shows for the price of 1. This does mean that you'll need to buy at least two tickets, but it’s a hot deal and most locals plan their shows around this time. You should too!
Waiting for the show’s stars to make an appearance for autographs after the show is one of Broadway’s great traditions. Be prepared to wait as most stars have to change out of their costume and remove stage makeup before they make an appearance.
Best Seats For A Broadway Play
The best seats for a Broadway play is subjective. However, there are certain sections, seats and rows that sell out first for good reason. The 4 sections that most Broadway theatres have are : Orchestra, Mezzanine, Balcony and Box Seats. Keep in mind that the names of the different sections vary from theatre to theatre
Orchestra seats are generally the most expensive, because it’s usually assumed that they offer the best views. However, this is not always true. The first row of the Mezzanine is usually best for big spectacles. You get an unimpeded view with no heads in front of you. Note, some theatres have a rail which may obstruct the view for short adults and kids.
Another important thing to consider while choosing the seats for a Broadway play are the rows. Do you hate it when you’re on the aisle and have to keep standing up as people come in? Or, would you rather be on the aisle because of the extra legroom?
The least desirable seats in most theatres are the ones on the sides. Side seats closer to the stage are the most problematic as the corner of the stage can get cut off from view. The very back of the orchestra and rear mezzanine sections are also not the best as a lot of activity takes place in that area.