New York could arguably be called the Theatre Capital of the World! Between Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway and the street performers dominating most central squares, there’s just so much to see. Indeed, it can get overwhelming just deciding what to go to, let alone finding the best deals on tickets.
But the Casablanca is here to help! Our location right in the very heart of the Theatre District – and the know-how of our staff, all concierges and even a couple of actors among them – allow us to provide our guests with information about the staples of Broadway, the hottest new tickets, and undiscovered avant-garde for those wishing to immerse themselves in uniquely New York works. We can get as specific as you like: musicals, family friendly shows, decidedly adult shows, musicals about musicals, cabarets, celebrity appearances, dance, opera, audience interaction or straight up drama, there’s always several options in pretty much any category imaginable. But for the uninitiated and for those looking to come to NY a step ahead of the rest, here’s a quick breakdown of some of the finest theatre currently on offer in New York and – quite possibly – the world.
But first, a quick word on how to procure tickets. The most straightforward option is to check online ticket brokers for availability, or go directly to the box office of the show you are interested in, and enquire about availability. Then there is the TKTS Booth located only a few minutes from the hotel, on Times Square. There they offer same day discounted tickets for some of the most popular shows in the theatre district. the booth opens at 3PM for shows happening at 8PM and it is recommended you arrive a little early, as the line can get long at times. Finally, we at the Casablanca are always more than happy to look for tickets on your behalf, and we engage with some fabulous brokers who regularly do have tickets to most shows. These tickets would, however, cost more than face value.
And so, without further ado, here are a few of our top recommendations for Theatre in the City That Never Sleeps:
Without question the hottest show currently in town is Hamilton. This masterful work of musical brilliance tells the story of Alexander Hamilton and the founding of the United States in a unique way – through the use of hip hop and rap lyrics written by the critically acclaimed creator of “In The Heights” Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also plays Hamilton himself. The original Off-Broadway production debuted in August of 2015 and received 7 Drama Desk awards before transferring to Broadway, where the New York Times critic David Brooks called it “one of the most exhilarating experiences… in the theater. Bold, rousing, sexy, tear-jerking and historically respectful”. since then President Obama has seen the show… twice! Tickets are extraordinarily hard to get and are quite pricey. You won’t find the TKTS Booth offering discounted tickets, but it’s still possible to get into shows on short notice. There’s a lottery, for starters, and all of our concierges engage with some fabulous brokers who regularly do have tickets available to see Hamilton, though at higher than face value prices. Ask anyone though, and they’ll tell you: it’s all worth it to see this show.
Looking for some nostalgia? Some of the most popular Broadway shows are all about telling the story of the most beloved artists of the era. Beautiful tells the story of Carole King (and is located right across the hotel, to boot) and Jersey Boys follows the story of Frankie Valli and the four Seasons. Then of course there’s always The Lion King for an incredible re-imagining of the Disney classic.
For fans of musicals, those who have seen most of the history-making productions in some form or another, Something Rotten on Broadway is a special treat. It’s one of those “Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare” stories, but with a comedic twist, where one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries attempts to outdo him, stumbling across the concept of the “Musical”. What follows is a tongue-in-cheek breakdown of what makes a musical, with nods to some of the most famous productions. It’s a fan favorite and comes highly recommended by some of the Casablanca front desk staff. For a musical with some more substance though there’s “Fun Home”, winner of this past year’s Tony Award for Best Musical, tackling more mature themes in a beautiful, round setting.
If you’re looking to wander off the beaten track somewhat, there are a ton of fantastic Off-Broadway shows at some of the finest theaters around the city. For good, unwholesome fun is Avenue Q the adult version of Sesame street, and for a sensory feast look no further than Fuerza Bruta or the ever popular Blue Man Group. If you’re looking for something more artistic and engaging, Sleep No More tells the story of Shakespeare’s Macbeth through a myriad of storytelling techniques, all taking place in an old warehouse converted into a 1930s era hotel – the McKittrick. Here you are free to wander about the halls and discover a myriad of stories for yourself, but be warned: you may find yourself pulled into a room by a character for a unique personal performance. This is avant-garde, immersive theatre at its finest.
If you’re looking for a good time without the stuffiness of Broadway or the heightened theatricality of the avant-garde, we love to recommend Don’t Tell Mama a cabaret of song and dance at a piano bar in midtown. Enjoy a tasty dinner and see some wildly creative performances that are sure to keep your eyes engaged, even as you eat. Then there’s Drunk Shakespeare where they welcome you to the theatre with a shot! Then, one actor proceeds to get rip-roaringly drunk before stumbling their way through a shortened version of one of the Bard’s plays. It’s a whole lot of fun!
These are just some highlights on the immense spectrum of NY theatre, and everyone at the Library Hotel Collection hotels are passionate about ensuring our guests have the best experience of New York possible, which cannot be complete with taking in a show. As such, we all work tirelessly to keep up to date on what’s running, what’s good, and where the best tickets will be found. Stop by the front desk anytime to hear what we’ve compiled, and be sure to tell us what you think of any show you’ve seen! If you need assistance, the concierges at the Casablanca Hotel in Times Square, the Library Hotel, the Hotel Giraffe and the Hotel Elysee will all be delighted to help you with any arrangements you need to make your stay memorable.
We cannot wait to welcome you. On with the show!
By: Omri Kadim