While New York City weather in January tends to range from unpleasant to miserable, if you can survive it for a weekend, it is an excellent time for a theater vacation. Both flights and ticket prices tend to be cheaper in the post-holiday lull, and you may find yourself with much better seats than you would in the busy summer season. From Atlanta, Delta Airlines regularly offers discounted tickets on flights to New York, often for as low as $200 round trip. Also, restaurants in New York have discounted menus for their “restaurant week” promotion starting on January 23, making a weekend of fantastic food and entertainment much more affordable during this cuddle-friendly time.
For discounted theater tickets, most tourists are aware of the TKTS booth in Times Square (with its recently renovated signage, it is impossible to miss!). The booth now accepts credit cards, and there is a special express line reserved for those purchasing tickets to plays (as opposed to the more popular musicals). There are also booths located in Brooklyn and at the South Street Seaport, and these locations offer tickets to matinee performances for the following day in addition to that evening’s performances. The TKTS web site offers information on which shows are typically discounted to enable you to plan your attack — it’s generally best to have two or three shows in mind, in the event that your first choice is unavailable.
Additionally, web sites such as Playbill and Broadway World also offer discounts to many Broadway and off-Broadway shows. Typically, these discounts only require submission of an e-mail address; they do not require a paid membership subscription. The advantages of these discounts is that they may be used in advance and tickets may be bought online (with payment of an additional handling fee), allowing greater flexibility and certainty. Some insiders believe that the best seating in discounted tickets can be found using these promotions at the theater box offices on the day of the show, as many theaters release tickets shortly before the performance. Again, depending on the amount of time you want to devote to your ticket buying process, this may or may not be a desirable option for you.
Finally, due to the lower attendance of performances in January, you would have a better chance of success in ticket lotteries for popular shows such as The Book of Mormon. These shows offer inexpensive tickets, usually in the first two rows or the sides of the orchestra, for sale via a lottery system 2 hours prior to the performance time. Playbill has a frequently updated list of the rush and standing room ticket policies for each show.
Therefore, January is the perfect time to resolve to finally take that trip to New York to catch up on your Broadway theater. Bundle up and brave the cold!