Friday I’m in Love with Live Theater: 6 Ways to See Shows for Less

live theater for lessA few years ago Rick surprised me with season tickets to the beautiful new Dallas Theater Center for our anniversary. Swoon! As we know, it’s hard to get out on a date with the husband but it feels so great when we do. This guaranteed that we would be “forced” to get gussied up and hit the town at least once a month. You might think that your man isn’t the “theater” type but he could surprise you, and himself, with how much he enjoys it!

Now that the girls are getting a little older and can almost sit still for a few hours (sorry for the seat kicking, family sitting in row E orchestra left) we have started taking advantage of local shows like Bass Performance Hall’s current run of Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan.

Yes, Cathy Rigby exemplifies never-grow-up  by continuing to dazzle audiences with her fantastic vocals and aerial acrobatics. The dance numbers are outstanding, especially those featuring Jenna Wright as Tiger Lily. My girls are still talking about their favorite parts including Rigby’s last big surprise of the night!

For those in the DFW area, Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan runs through Sunday night and tickets start at $38.00. Here is a list of additional cities the tour will hit this Spring

Sounds awesome, right? Does this get you in the mood to introduce your family to live theater this year? While I think theater is one of the most worthwhile ways to spend your entertainment budget, ticket prices can make it out of reach, especially when you have a big family in tow. The good news is that no matter where you live, there are ways to get a bargain on tickets to big (and small) shows. Here are my favorite ways to save…

Attend shows at off-peak times
For most performances, weekend evenings are when tickets sell at a premium. If budget is your top priority, try attending shows during the day.  Not only will you save a few bucks, but you’ll also beat the crowds.

Many local stages offer pay-what-you-can previews, which allow patrons to see shows and pay whatever price seems reasonable to them. (This doesn’t mean nothing. If you cough up at least $10 to see a great show, that’s still a bargain.) Do a search for “Pay What You Can Theater” + your city name

Bypass Broadway
When most people talk about live theater, they think of Broadway. Sure, seeing Wicked or Book of Mormon on the big stage is amazing, but it’s also pricey. Instead, attend performances at local community theaters, colleges or even high schools. The production won’t be as splashy, but it’s still entertaining — and you might catch a rising star in the process. Plus, you can probably see one of these shows for as little as $5.

Same day tickets
If you have your heart set on a big ticket show, many larger “theater cities” have services like DC’s TICKETplace and  New York City’s TKTS booth. The outlet sells same-day and advance half-price tickets to theatrical performances. You can also stop in at a theater’s box office and ask about same-day ticket lotteries and deals.

Summer Stock
Summer Stock provides a training ground for actors and great, inexpensive entertainment for vacationers. Also search out schedules for your hometown’s Theater in the Park for an amazing and affordable outdoor theater experience this Summer.

Volunteer at a theater
One of the thriftiest ways to see a show is to volunteer as an usher. In exchange, volunteers not only get to see performances for free but also may acquire backstage access.

If you have any questions, leave me a comment here and I will try to help you out. Happy Easter Superstars!




Yes! Love this post … I am a professional actor, director and college professor … and I think many people might think going to the theatre is boring … couldn’t be more wrong. Thank you for spreading the love!


being a professional SM for the local SPT scene, THANK YOU. Most communities even have a kids theater — both in kids acting and specializing in doing shows for children. Even if you think it might be hard to get a date night to go see something serious, most have talk backs and side avenue events that are associated with the play so little ones can talk to (or just see, if they’re shy) real live working actors & designers, artists and authors.

You left off staged readings – a great way to see new work, often from people you’ve actually heard of. You lose some of the flash and dazzle of a finished production, but you often get high quality actors who have invested time and effort in making you forget that they are often walking around in their street clothes holding a script.

Check out libraries – most have started to realize that bringing in smaller shows are a great way to bring literature to life. I actually work on a touring version of Christmas Carol done by a single actor and we’ve performed in libraries and art museums to packs of adults and children.

If none of this works, remember to hit the street & park festivals. They often have smaller attention span productions (puppet plays, short 15min skits) that catch your attention if you are worried about the younger set being able to sit through a Broadway-length 2hr epic. This time of year is usually when they start up and often the theater-lite part of the event is not what the headline event is so it may not be as well published.


Amber Wills

Ramona is just now at the age where she will sit through a whole show. We bought our tickets to Cinderella via TKTS when we were in New York this month. We waited 45 min (in the freezing cold) but at 40% off it was worth it. She adored the show and will rehearse it with herself sometimes. It’s ridiculous and cute all at the same time. I need to check out the schedule at Bass and take her to some local shows. Thanks for the savings tips!

Fort Worth has Kids’ Who Care theater which is reasonable since it’s kid actors.


Age du Fer pas en dclin, mais le marchal daze,Chut! Maison fant?me se rveiller,L’re lectrique ne sont plus un tat d’hbtude,L’re du moteur vapeur se sent tourdi,L’age d’or de la dvisser table d’opration


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