Just in time for the fall season and with some time to plan your holiday-season fun, Just the Ticket: The Insider’s Guide to Great Evenings Out in Washington DC, Oct-Dec 2016 edition, has been released. At 42 pages, it’s a quick, easy read and an excellent resource for fun lovers, foodies and culture vultures who have some free time in the Nation’s Capital this fall and want to spend it well.
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You want to have fun. You don’t want to go broke. We get that.
In our listings of shows, we always try to give you the “Top” or worst-case price, to give you a sense of the maximum you might pay to see the show. In almost all cases, what you really pay should be an improvement on that. You can beat the Top price and have a nice night of theater on the cheap in a number of ways: here are the best ones.
- WHO YOU ARE. First, are you eligible for a deal just by being you? And being willing to do your transaction in person or a phone call, rather than the interwebs?
Almost any theater we’re sending you to will offer discounts for youth. Believe it or don’t, if you’re under 30, your driver’s license is a dollars-off card for most theaters in town.
Similarly, many theaters offer discounts to active duty military and veterans. Being invaded would really screw with a theater’s rehearsal schedules, so it’s the least they can do.
- WHERE YOU BUY. No matter who you are, where you buy your tickets can also save you a bunch of money, and these tips work well online.Goldstar.com and CultureCapital.tix.com offer half-price seats to many of the shows we recommend. There aren’t always many seats available, they are rarely for sale more than a couple of weeks in advance of the show date, and sometimes the discounted seats are pretty far from front and center; but here’s a little secret. At most of the theaters in DC, every seat is good. If you have some time to plan ahead, you can usually save a lot using these sites.
You’ll have to create a free account to use the Goldstar site. Both sites also have regular email messages you can subscribe to that tell you about upcoming deals, and they list lots of things to do besides plays, that are likely to make your time in DC more fun.
- WHEN YOU GO. When you see a show can also keep some dollars in your hands.Generally, Friday and Saturday night tickets are pricier than other night performances. Wednesday or Thursday night performances are more affordable.
If you attend a show at one of its earlier performances, you may be in what is called a preview performance. This mostly means you’re seeing the show before it has been reviewed, and the theater rewards your daring by knocking a chunk off the ticket price. An increasing number of theaters in town do Pay What You Will pricing during previews, meaning it’s literally up to you how much you pay and even $2 will get you in.
- LAST-MINUTE DEALS. Finally, if you’re willing to risk not being able to get in to a popular show, most theaters offer what are called Rush Tickets at a steep discount shortly before the show starts (“shortly” can mean only one hour before, or as many as five or six hours before). Rush Tickets at Forum Theatre in Silver Spring are name-your-price, so you can pay as little as $2 and see the show, for any performance. At pretty much all theaters that have Rush Ticket prices, even if the performance is officially sold out, the box office will put you on a waiting list and charge you the discount if you get in [ask first]. There are often people who paid for very nice seats but don’t show up, and you could wind up in their seats if you get lucky. If you don’t get in to the show, you can always skip the entertainment and go directly to the bar we recommend for afterwards, so that’s hardly a total loss of a Great Evening.
Last but not least, we would be failing at our jobs if we didn’t let you know our best secret for inexpensive tickets: skip the big theaters in favor of the small ones. In every edition of Just the Ticket we include Great Evenings with shows that have Top ticket prices of less than $30, often in interesting and offbeat venues. We’ve done the legwork to make sure they are in places that are easy to get to and have good dining and drinking options nearby. And we give you shows that have a high likelihood of entertainment and enjoyment. DC’s secret weapon as a theater town is that exceptional work is happening at all price levels, so if you don’t normally give small theater companies a look, we hope you’ll use the guide as a way to find some lesser-known, bargain gems.
Please let us know if you enjoy some savings after reading this post either by commenting below or writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Performances have started for The Critic / The Real Inspector Hound at Shakespeare Theatre. That means Great Evening #1 from our quarterly ebook Just the Ticket: An Insider’s Guide to Great Evenings Out in Washington DC is yours to enjoy, most evenings now through the show’s closing on Feb. 14th.
The show hasn’t been reviewed in the press yet, but there’s a great Washington Post feature about the show and about director Michael Kahn’s stormy, lifelong relationship with critics to get you excited for the show. A picture caption in the story also let us know that the talented Hugh Nees will be in the cast, which is great news for the audience. We’ve laughed at him in many roles over the years, including a gangster and an infant – those may have been in the same show. We look forward to how he is used in this show.
To save money when you see the show, there are some specific discounts on offer at Shakespeare Theatre:
- Military members with ID: 25% off.
- Seniors 60 and older: 10% off.
- Young ‘uns 35 and under: $25 tickets at select performances.
- Last-minute seats: Two hours before curtain for every performance, any remaining seat is only $25 (in person at the box office only).
Take advantage of any of these to marshal your money for the bar after!
We are now looking forward to Just the Ticket Great Evening #3, featuring Sisters Rosensweig at Theatre J in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. There are now early-bird half-price tickets available to many performances at ticketplace.org. That show debuts on January 13th.
Please have a great evening out while you’re in DC, let us know what it’s like for you, and tell us where you had a bite or a drink before or after the show.
We’d love it if you’d leave a review for our ebook, Just the Ticket, in the Amazon store to help other people discover the book! Thanks.