Beyond the footlights of Broadway, there are so many fantastic performances! How do you find them? Well, I’ll share some of what I do to find shows with you.
Favorite Venues and Festivals. Certain venues and festivals introduce me to compelling artists. BAM and St. Anne’s Warehouse program renowned, visually evocative and theatrical work with an emphasis on international companies. New Victory Theater brings in stellar theatre for young audience productions from across the U.S. and internationally.
I like to keep up with what is happening at New York Theatre Workshop and The Public. LaMaMa and HERE have experimental and multi-media work and puppetry. Media gets even more space to play at 3-Legged Dog. The Kitchen and Abrons have more performance-art, and Abrons programs more dance.
If you want to see work that is being developed/created from ensembles and individual artists, check out The Bushwick Starr, P.S 122, The New Ohio, and Jack. People often are taking their first crack at a show at Dixon Place, The Bric, and the University Settlement.
If you like play readings, The Lark and New Dramatists offer readings every month, but times will vary in order to fit the needs of the playwrights. If you’re up for a reading or lecture, check out the Segal Theatre Center.
In terms of festivals, Under the Radar, in January, brings in a variety of strong work, often with international companies. PS 122’s COIL (also in January) and Underground Zero (in the summer) have more experimental work and NYC artists, as does the Segal Center‘s Prelude Festival (in October).
Favorite Artists. Often when I find someone whose work I like, I want to see what they’re taking on next. Like waiting for your favorite band to go back on tour, it can be frustrating that many of these performers might not be performing right now. Getting on mailing lists is a good idea. My list includes, among others: Phil Soltanoff, Aaron Landsman, 600 Highwaymen, Elevator Repair Service, Pearl D’Amour, Mallory Catlett, and Third Rail Projects. I try to see what I can of The Wooster Group, Richard Maxwell, Target Margin, the Team, and Half Straddle. I’ve also enjoyed listening to Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s radio podcasts and getting to know other artists. And whenever Manual Cinema visits NYC, I see them.
Reviews. Although reading a review can overly skew my perspective, I still read selected reviews from The New York Times, Time Out New York and The Village Voice. StageGrade compiles reviews of major Broadway and some Off-Broadway shows.
Price/Discounts. I recommend checking out TodayTix. If you’re a student and/or under 30, odds are a theatre will have some kind of discount for you if you search their website. If you’re over 30, it’s harder to find discounted tickets. Often tickets are less expensive for previews and early performances, like Ars Nova. Signature Theatre has $25 tickets for the first several weeks of every show.
You can try to rush a show. I was able to rush a show at St. Anne’s. I have not had luck with Broadway shows; I’m just not willing to sit and stand in line for hours and hours on end.
TDF both has venues for discounted tickets from their ticket booth or online if you qualify for a membership. Sometimes you can Google discount codes for a show/
If you consistently like the work at a particular non-Broadway venue, try to usher there. I do and have seen fantastic shows. Sometimes those opportunities are listed on the theatre’s website; if not, email the company about your interest and willingness.