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How do you choose Broadway seats?

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Jan 25th, 2009, 08:06 AM
  #1
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How do you choose Broadway seats?

Okay, I have never been to a Broadway play, barely ever been to live theatre period. Four of us are trying to pick a play. We are in our 50's, hip-ish and want to see a play. A couple choices are Wicked and South Pacific.

We are buying far enough in advance to be able to get decent seats and are hoping to pay below $150 per person. www.broadwaybox.com gives us visual choices in seating that don't translate to a country person such as myself. No judgements please.

Where would you sit if you wanted to have the best seats for that price....or a bit more? Which play would you pick (add others as well, please)?

We really don't want to spend our time when we get there standing in line waiting to see if we could get 'cheap' seats. But, maybe I am wrong about that? Should we? Thanks for your help in advance.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 08:22 AM
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I have attended shows on Broadway for many decades. I now live on the West Coast.

I buy tickets on broadwaybox.com, and I prefer to sit as close as I can to the center in row J of the orchestra.

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Jan 25th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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Thanks, any opinions on which play?
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Jan 25th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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Broadwaybox.com is good for getting discounted tickets listed on the left hand column on their website. Since the 2 shows you mention are never discounted, you should first try buying tix from the official sellers of those shows. Wicked is sold by ticketmaster and South Pacific is on Telecharge. Every Broadway show uses one of these 2 sellers as their official seller. You can find direct links to both on a website like Playbill.com
Go to the left column there and click "broadway" under the subhead listings/tickets.

Non discounted tickets on broadwaybox are actually sold by brokers who charge over the face value. Sometimes that's necessary, but try the other route first.

Wicked has been extremely popular, especially among teen girls. I wouldn't discourage you, but if you're 2 couples, I'm not sure the men will enjoy this as much as other options.

I haven't seen this production of "South Pacific." It's gotten rave reviews and if it's choice b/w these 2, I think South Pacific is the better choice. I assume you know it's a revival and you can rent a DVD of the movie if you don't know it or to see if you think you'd like it.

If you're in your 50's, maybe you were fans of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in your youth? The show "Jersey Boys" is about them and has also been hugely popular. I recently saw "In the Heights" which won for best musical last year. It's just started being discounted. A revival of "West Side Story" will also be opening.

As for best seats, the closer to the center the better. The very best seats are sold as "premium" tickets and are very expensive. Anything in the middle of the orchestra. If it's a big theater, sometimes the front of the first mezzanine is better than the back of the orchestra. I think for your first B'way experience, I'd try to get as close to the stage as possible without being too far to the side.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 09:15 AM
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seeksocean, you've got some very good suggestions above. But don't overlook Chicago, which is one of the longest running shows on Broadway right now, and for good reason. It's great, and is a little more adult than many other musicals.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 09:17 AM
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seeksocean - It's such a personal choice in selecting a play. Having said that, I am in your age range and going to theater since age 12 - I would choose South Pacific as a first entree to musical theater. The production is great - wonderful acting, staging, memorable music and oh, that orchestra! The Vivian Beaumont is a wonderful theater at Lincoln Center with most seats being very good. My preference in that theater is to just avoid seats on the very far sides. I don't think I've ever had a bad seat there. If you go, get the CD (about $10) of this production. There's nothing like familiarity of great music to add to the enjoyment of the play. Enjoy!
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Jan 25th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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Thanks! I think that South Pacific is our first choice. Should we pay the premium for excellent seats (like, when again will I ever get there?), or wait and see if in the spring, when we get there, there would be a discount deal? Probably a rhetorical question.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 11:45 AM
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You won;t see discounts to South Pacific anytime soon. If you go to the official ticket seller NOW you have a chance of getting good seats without paying a premium to a scalper.

That's what I would do.

If you wait for a discount you are likely to have to go to a scalper and pay way more than face value of the tickets.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 12:05 PM
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As nytraveler says, see what the best seats are for South Pacific without paying for premium seats. I would PHONE and speak to a live person (and print a detailed seating chart from the internet) rather than trying to do it online. Sometimes their idea of "best available" is not my idea of same.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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okay thanks
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Jan 25th, 2009, 12:18 PM
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Just out of curiosity, do you have the phone number?
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Jan 25th, 2009, 12:21 PM
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There's a toll free 800 # listed here for buying tickets
http://www.telecharge.com/contactUs.aspx
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Jan 25th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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Thanks! Since we would like to see what jazz may be in town when we are there (third week in May), how close in advance of that time in May should I book to still get decent seats...in your opinion. Thanks again!
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Jan 25th, 2009, 02:13 PM
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Depends on who's playing (how well known they are) and the size of the venue. Some jazz places won't require any prebooking. It appears most places only have calendars through April. Wait a month and look again.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 02:19 PM
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A few other quick suggestions regarding seating...

I've always been told to think "N" is nice - or in otherwords beyond Row N is not so nice.

If its beyond Row N, then I ask what is available in the front section upstairs.

Also stay away from the far sides close to the wall. Sounds obvious, but sometimes its a partial view depending on what might be on stage. Depending on the show, they may or may not have the box office tell you that.

You should know that front row seating for Broadway is many times not desirable - particularly if it is a large scale show.

Have fun whatever you choose to see!!
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Jan 25th, 2009, 02:20 PM
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Just to clarify: there are full price seats and 'premium' seats on Broadway (not really sure about Lincoln Center because I'm a member of LCT and pay a discounted rate). Premium seats were started a few years ago (wasn't it Mel Brooks for Young Frankenstein?) as a marketing tool to overcharge, IMO, for the best orchestra seats. I have drawn the line, for myself, at paying full price with the additional charges ($131 per ticket) and not a penny more. As someone who goes to the theater frequently (paying anywhere from $30 - 130), there unfortunately are rarely performances, again imo, that are worth the full price. I do think that South Pacific is worth full price.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Thanks all...again. Centralparkgirl, what shows do you think warrant full price? I am still open to all ideas. I think I will wait a month to book in case there are any club acts that can't be missed. I really appreciate you all!!
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Jan 25th, 2009, 02:55 PM
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For $130, South Pacific and August: Osage County. I loved Equus which is discounted and closing soon. Chicago and Avenue Q are both very good and discounted now because they're playing a long time. I have full price tix for West Side Story, but who knows? I have guessed wrong many a time and am currently in a 'choose more carefully' or 'wait 'til it opens' mood. I still think for a newbie, South Pacific is a quintessential B'way musical. Everyone I know has loved it. I'll bet that whatever you see, you will come away saying, I can't believe I haven't experienced this before! So, why don't you pick a full price show like South Pacific and a second one (maybe a matinee) - that is very good, but discounted because it's playing for years. And then I would choose Chicago. btw, I saw Billy Elliott and enjoyed it, but not sure it's worth $130.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 03:31 PM
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If you decide on South Pacific, I would NOT spend the extra money for premium seats. The sightlines in that theater are excellent no matter where you sit! Regular orchestra seats are $120. And that's the most you should spend for the tickets (plus, of course, the normal add-on $5-7.50 per ticket surcharge when ordering on the phone or online).
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Jan 25th, 2009, 03:33 PM
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I sound like a broken record but I really loved "In the Heights" (and was surprised at how much I liked it) and it's now on discount.
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