Broadway on a budget

If my life were a musical, I would obviously be the star. Although that would be difficult as I like singing but not necessarily in front of people. Public performances tend to make me a bit shy.

My dad always tells of my first ‘role’ in my preschool’s Thanksgiving play. I was a pilgrim complete with a white paper plate bonnet and black construction paper collar. Everyone had one line which was: ‘I brought ________!’ filled in by whatever picture of food they had cut out and glued onto their paper plate. My line was ‘I brought turkey!’ Very clutch. But when it came time to present my line, I got so bashful I barely whispered it in the mousiest tone. Apparently all the parents thought it was adorable because they began laughing and applauding. I couldn’t have been more embarrassed but deep down I’m sure I thought Nailed It.

When it comes to performances, I like to leave it to the professionals. BROADWAY baby! This is the perfect city to see all the big Broadway shows, if you have hundreds of dollars to spare, which I don’t. But no worries, because there are plenty of ways to find Broadway tickets without being a slave to the TKTS sign.

(1) Hit the theatres early in the morning

Even the biggest shows will have leftover tickets. So make a list of the ones you want to see and go directly to the theater’s box office the day of the performance (~$30/ticket). They open at 10am but anyone who shows up after 9am is a fool. Call the box office ahead of time and ask what time they would suggest getting there. Make sure to keep your options open as your first pick may only have a handful of tickets available.

Also, if you have a student ID bring it. It can come in handy.

Shows I’ve seen with this method: Mamma Mia, Anything Goes

(2) Sign up for email lists

In many ways, NYC caters to the young. I’m signed up for LincTix which offers discounted $30 tickets to shows at Lincoln Center for those 21-35 years old. And if you have young friends, they can sign up too so that you can all sit together! Oh to be young and poor… yet incredibly cultured.

Shows I’ve seen with this method: War Horse

(3) Find a rich benefactor or… parents

When my family came to visit last summer, my mom, sister and I knew we wanted to go see Wicked. But everyone and their mom wants to see this show (look at previous statement) and I knew the methods above probably wouldn’t cut it. So Mama Choo swept in and took care of it all for us. And you know what, I think she’ll tell you it was TOTALLY worth it! We planned WAY ahead of time (about 2 months beforehand) in order to get the best seats. This is the old fashioned, most expensive way but if one person plans and another person pays, it seems less painful?

Shows I’ve seen with this method: Wicked

Minskoff Theater

(4) Make Broadway friends

Don’t have any? Hang out by the Tisch School for an hour and you’re set. Or find anyone who’s somewhat connected to Broadway. You never know, it could be your cousin’s landlord’s dog walker or your coworker. This week one of the producers for Peter and the Starcatcher gave us some free tickets at work. That’s right, FREE tickets! The best kind.

Shows I’ve seen with this method: Peter and the Starcatcher

coworkers at Peter and the Starcatcher (Brooks Atkinson Theater)

In other news, I’ll be spending Easter weekend in DC! I’m open to any and all recommendations!

Live from NEW YORK…

This summer when I first arrived in the city, I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of people (and sweat) and underwhelmed by the magic of this city. Of course, most of my notion of a “perfect New York” was solely due to watching films like Sleepless in Seattle and Serendipity way too many times. I had relented to the fact that life, especially in New York City, just isn’t how it’s shown in movies. But now, I realize all I needed to do was add some twinkle lights and… New York City is suddenly starting to feel very magical!

This weekend was a wonderful surprise in itself when one of my Vanderbilt friends, Erica, popped into the city for a visit with her sister and boyfriend. We spent the afternoon culturing ourselves first at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) which is renowned as the home of van Gogh’s Starry Night. I personally love MoMA as it also has one of the best photography collections and the building itself is a very stark, contemporary space.

We then stopped by Rockefeller Center to see the assembly of the new Christmas tree as well as the skaters on the ice rink.

Margaret trivia fact #1: I have never ice skated in my life.

Afterwards we got some Chinese food nearby. Scratch that, Erica, her sister and boyfriend got Chinese food while I smuggled in some Chipotle I had picked up (so cultured and refined I know but I was craving it!). We were struggling to get through dinner though in anticipation for what lay ahead afterwards…


Oh, do I love a Broadway musical! And this one was a steal for $31 (tip: Erica had checked with the ticket office earlier that day and bought student-rate tickets). The show was fantastic– full of outlandish costumes and fun dancing! It’s given me a new motivation to attend as many Broadway shows as possible. Because like twinkle lights, I really do think they make the city magical…

Margaret trivia fact #2: As a child, I was OBSESSED with the Sound of Music and can to this day recite the entire film. It’s a gift and a curse (for my family).

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
11 West 53 Street  New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-9400
Rockefeller Center
48th-51st Street btwn 5th & 6th Avenue, NY NY
(212) 549-5100
Mamma Mia!
1634 Broadway, New York, NY 10019