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London Theater tickets

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May 15th, 2014, 08:08 AM
  #1
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London Theater tickets

Our first stay in London is coming up, and we would like to see a musical. I am leaning toward Les Miserables or Billy Elliott, but am open to others. We can go most any evening (or even a matinee) btwn June 12 - 19. A mid-week show is fine, actually preferred. There are two of us - and we would like decent seats, but definitely doesn't have to be front row or even near that. We are flexible and can wait until the last minute, but would hate to miss out by doing so. The venue would also make a difference - i.e. if a certain theater is a better experience, that would influence our choice of productions. I will admit to extreme naivete on this entire topic, so the more details the better.

As always, I know there is likely a "best" way to get tickets - and with all the great advice I've had from Fodorites over the years, well, here I am again.

Thanks in advance for any points in the right direction!
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May 15th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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http://www.tkts.co.uk/leicester-square/

No better source for discounted tickets for plays not sold out than the former Half-Priced Ticket Booth for years in Leicester Square - in the heart of the West End Theatre District - now run by TKTS - of course ones for sold out solds will not be available but dozens and dozens will.
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May 15th, 2014, 09:07 AM
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We received 5th row seats for Billy Elliot for 40% off list on the day of the show from the TKTS booth in Leicester Square.

Definitely would take BE (funny, entertaining, semi-poignant, and has anti-Thatcher overtones if you're a liberal or don't understand economics) over Les Miz (semi-operatic - there's no real dialogue, it's sung; and good gosh is it overwrought).
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May 15th, 2014, 09:52 AM
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I agree with BigRuss about choosing "Billy Elliott" and others about TKTS.

The concierge at my hotel (Strand Palace) got me discount tickets for a "Jersey Boys" matinee but couldn't get discounted ones for newer shows. Even though I'm not a Frankie Valli fan, I really enjoyed the show.

After Jersey Boys ended, I happened upon "Book of Mormon" theatre and got a single ticket for that night's show--not discounted though. I also walked up for "Handbagged" and had no problem on another day. I wasn't there on a weekend so that may have made getting tickets easier.

Someone strongly recommended "Lion King"--anyone seen it?

Is your hotel located in the theatre area, scdreamer?
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May 15th, 2014, 12:59 PM
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I was told that "Once" is very good also. Has anyone see it?
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May 15th, 2014, 02:49 PM
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So - we will be there in mid June. Do you think the option to get tickets the day of a performance will still be good? Or is it better to try now since that will be heading into the summer tourist season?

Thanks for the Billy Elliott suggestions - I loved the movie, so am sure I would like the play, too.
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May 15th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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If there is something you're really interested in, that's new, I'd give it a try now since you'll be there with more tourists than in April (a guess on my part). Billy Elliott and Les Miz have been around for a few years so you might be OK with same day. How flexible your schedule is could be a factor.

Does your hotel have concierge service? I don't know if they provide the service before one is actually at the hotel, but you could query them. Give him/her a big tip if they do!
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May 15th, 2014, 03:18 PM
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<>

A few decades in Les Miz's case.
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May 15th, 2014, 03:35 PM
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So call me Ms. Understatement.
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May 15th, 2014, 04:02 PM
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We're flexible - and not staying in a hotel, as we have rented a flat. I guess we'll wait until we're there to see what we can do.
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May 15th, 2014, 08:27 PM
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I've had good luck at the Leicester Square TKTS booth on multiple occasions. Do be sure you are at the TKTS booth, and not one of the gazillion little places around Leicester Square which post signage to make you think they are TKTS.

When we were stuck in London behind the volcanic ash cloud I just walked up to box offices and asked about "day of" tickets, got pairs for for Hair and Enron at a nice discount.
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May 15th, 2014, 10:23 PM
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TKTS is the stand-alone building at the end of the square nearest Trafalgar Square. Avoid all the other "half price" agencies. You'll have a large choice if shows there just about every day. Don't go right at opening time unless you simply must due to other plans that day. That is when the queues are usually longest because everyone thinks they need to be there early . . . They don't.
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May 16th, 2014, 12:43 AM
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will 'matilda' still be playing?? it's smart, sweet, dark and funny... and it came to the u.s. from london, so a good show to see over there. that would be my recommendation for a musical. loved it!
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May 16th, 2014, 08:33 AM
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TKTS is the stand-alone building at the end of the square nearest Trafalgar Square. Avoid all the other "half price" agencies>

Yes indeedy - they tread of the fame of the kind of official discounted TKTS booth in Leicester Square, the square janisj is talking about - the line the streets between Traflagar Square and Leicester Sqare - these storefronts that may not offer deals as good as the TKTS booth - the long-established one in the bottom of Leicester Square - for years called the Half-Priced Ticket Booth and run in tandem with a group of West End Theatres - so is the 'official' outlet in many ways.
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May 16th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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Thank you Seamus, janisj, and PalenQ for the heads-up regarding the ticket booths. I had read about that is one of my guidebooks, so will be careful to go to the right one - TKTS.
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May 16th, 2014, 09:19 AM
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You asked about "Once" - we saw it in NYC and it's delightful, original, great great fun. I bought the tickets thinking it was a cute little musical - found out just before seeing it that it won about 9 Tony's the prior year. And it deserves every one of them - it's full of great all-round performances and surprises.
Also - when we've bought tickets in London, I've used SeatMonkey, which I think is still around - you can check the theatre you're thinking of and the site alerts you to any odd obstructions. Just like SeatGuru for airplanes, but it's the theater layouts. This becomes important since so many of the London spots, in our experience, are delightfully old and not as well laid out as the newer, less interesting theatres.
Hope this helped.
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May 16th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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travelzoo also often has tickets at about 1/2 off... you need to go to the travelzoo uk site. for instance, today they have 'jersey boys' through june 29... and a few weeks ago i got tix to 'bakersfield mist' for our upcoming trip. i like to use this method when i can because i like to plan ahead... and also because usually (but not always) you can pick your seats... and do it all online. not as much choice as tkts, though.
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May 16th, 2014, 03:00 PM
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Billy Elliot tickets are now very eay to get as the novelty of the show has long since worn off. They put on sale front row tickets for something like £20 at 10 AM every morning at the theatre box office; going on a Thursday is better as there is a Thursday matinee and a Thursday evening performance or you can go to TKTS and get pretty decent seats at a discount as noted above, even in advance. TKTS is located in the little park that is actually Leicester Square in a free standing structure towards the rear. Get off the tube at Leicester Square, walk down the pedestrian street past the two or three "phony" discount ticket places till you get to Burger King. There you will see towards the rear TKTS. You can also on a Thursday say pick up tickets if you want for the Thursday matinee and another show Thursday evening. Or buy Billy Elliot in advance.

Les Mis is another story. For some reason, despite the fact it has been running for a long time and as opposed to what was a few years ago, the show is very very popular now, does not discount at TKTS and so you can stop by the box office and see what's left for a particular performance or book in advance directly with the Queens Theatre. Just to add to Janisj's suggestion, sometimes shows not available at the opening of TKTS become available later in the day as the theatres dump tickets they think they can't sell. The old law of supply and demand I suppose.

Finally, I don't know your age. Senior discounts in London start at age 60 (they are called concession tickets) and many shows that are not sell outs will have concession tickets available the day of a performance. It never hurts to ask. And they don't check (not saying you should lie or anything) so if you look the part you don't need any special discount cards to buy senior tickets.

Finally, you can go to Broadwaybox.com, click on the button for London and you will find a whole list of discounts available for some but not all London shows. The mega musicals generally do not have discounts as would be expected.
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May 16th, 2014, 03:07 PM
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oops...haven't been to the web site for a while but apparently broadwaybox.com no longer has a button for London (and Las Vegas) shows. Sorry for the wrong info.
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May 17th, 2014, 11:42 AM
  #20
 
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<>

I think you mean Theatre Monkey http://www.theatremonkey.com/

If you have a UK SIM with data, it's handy to have that open on your phone ready with the theatre seating plan whilst standing at the window at TKTS. We've bought some fabulous half price seats (Jersey Boys - stalls row F, just off centre) and some rubbish ones (Priscilla - balcony, end of row A where we could only see half the show).
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