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5 Reasons To See A Broadway Show During Previews

Category Broadway

|by Mikey Miller |

From cheaper tickets to hilarious mishaps and even celeb sightings

For about a month or so before officially opening, all Broadway shows play what are called preview performances. During previews, the creative team of the show (especially if it’s brand-new) is still figuring things out, whether that be in terms of the writing, staging or technical elements, and they want some time to put their show in front of audiences before rolling out the red carpet and bringing in the critics on opening night. Even though many shows won’t be in their final form until the days leading up to opening, seeing a show during this period could be more than worth your while. With several buzzy new shows currently in previews – including Burn/This (opens April 16), Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus (opens April 21), Hadestown (opens April 17), Hillary and Clinton (opens April 18), King Lear (opens April 4) and What the Constitution Means to Me (opens March 31) – we’ve rounded up the top reasons to catch Broadway shows before they officially open.  

Eva Noblezada and Reeve Carney in ‘Hadestown’ (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

Eva Noblezada and Reeve Carney in ‘Hadestown’ (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

Preview tickets can be less expensive
Producers of Broadway shows don’t always know the best price point to attract audiences to a particular production when the show is just starting its run. As a result, the prices you would pay to see a show during previews may be cheaper than usual if producers decide to take a middle-of-the-road approach. The savings gained from seeing a show during previews maybe compounded, however, if the show later goes on to become a massive hit. The perfect example of this is Hamilton, whose prices have escalated since its arrival on Broadway due to increased demand. Save 10% on Hadestown tickets, and save over 20% on What The Constitution Means to Me tickets with ShowTickets.

Rush tickets are more easily available
Are you in the city and looking for tickets to see a show that day? What you might not know is that many shows offer a rush policy, where you can buy tickets for that day’s performances at a heavily discounted price (ranging from about $30 to $50), and tickets are often located in the first few rows. (This tradition began when the original Broadway production of Rent started selling $20 same-day tickets to fans who bought tickets when the box office opened.) Because these shows haven’t opened yet, fewer people are looking to grab those coveted inexpensive seats (especially when it comes to plays).

See the show up-close
This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that rush tickets are more easily available, but it’s more than likely that you could end up seeing the show in the first row during previews, and really feel like you are experiencing the show with the actors. When you’re up close, the actors are more likely to make eye contact with you, and truly make you feel like you are a part of the action. (And who knows? Depending on the show, you might actually become a part of the production.)

Anything can happen
For most of us going to a Broadway show, we expect to see a perfect, fine-tuned piece of theater, but as we’ve already covered, the point of preview performances are for everyone involved in the show to work out any kinks. And because of that, it’s more than likely that some mess-ups are going to occur. Costume changes can go awry; props can fly into the audience. Besides, we have to remember, Broadway actors are humans and make mistakes, too. By going to a preview, chances are you’ll see a more unique – and potentially hilarious – performance, and wouldn’t it be so cool to have a wild story to tell, as well as the bragging rights of having been in the audience when it happened?

VIPs are often in attendance
Want to know what it’s like to really be in “the room where it happens”? Since things are still being worked out during previews, it’s more than likely that some members of the production staff or creative team (whether that be the director, choreographer, composer, book writer or any number of designers, along with their assistants) will be in attendance. The members of the production staff and creative team are looking for ways to improve their show, of course, and have been known to take notes during the performance. Plus, stars of other Broadway shows have also been known to attend preview performances to support their industry friends and colleagues before a show gets big, as was the case when SpongeBob star Ethan Slater stopped by a preview of Be More Chill last month.

For more of the best of Broadway, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in April 2019.

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