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Yes, you can cram two (or more!) productions into 24 hours, but here's what to know before you go
It all began with this tweet—that's what inspired my colleague Tyler Riley to invite me on a five-shows-in-one-Saturday adventure that started with Sesame Street the Musical at 11 a.m. and ended with HYPROV at 10 p.m., with performances of The Office! A Musical Parody, Titanique and dance at The Joyce Theater in between.
While five-show days aren't typical (thankfully), lots of theatre lovers see matinee and evening performances in one day. At TDF, we're frequently tagged on social posts thanking us for multiple-show days and weekends made possible by our affordable ticket prices through our membership program and our TKTS Booths.
With the busy holiday theatre season upon us, you may have a few multi-show days on your schedule. I learned a lot during my five-show escapade, so I'm sharing my tips to help get you through!
1. Coffee, yes, but also… - You probably figured that caffeine would make my list, and while coffee and H2O hydration are key, you must be strategic about your bathroom breaks! Especially if adult beverages are also included in your fluid intake. All theatres have bathrooms of course, but if you need to go in between shows and you're in the Times Square area, I recommend the free public ones at Bryant Park (yes, I have a favorite bathroom—it's like a spa), or buying a slice of cheesecake at Junior's (you have two locations to choose from) and running to the restroom.
2. Location, location - When planning your multi-show day, remember to account for the time it takes to travel between venues. I actually proposed a show in Midtown that ended about a half hour before our next one, which was a few stops downtown on the E train. Thankfully, the much more levelheaded Tyler talked me out of that.
3. Walk this way - What, subways unreliable?! 'Fraid so, especially with weekend service changes. Thanks to gridlock, especially around the holidays, cabs may be even worse. We were lucky to have nice weather for our multi-show day, so we walked from Times Square to Chelsea to Union Square. If going afoot isn't an option, build in extra time for trains and traffic.
4. No reservations about reservations - Food, glorious food! You'll definitely want to fill up between shows. While there are myriad restaurants in NYC, if you don't want to wait, make a reservation. Tyler and I had to abandon an eatery with a long line because time was tight. Not sure where to go? The reservation app Open Table lets you search by neighborhood. Still want to wing it? If you're in Times Square, head to Ninth Avenue, which is teeming with restaurants but fewer tourists.
5. Choose your seatmate wisely - A multi-show day means a lot of time making chitchat before the show, during intermission, at meals and while traveling. Luckily, I'm a Tyler fan and he kept me well entertained. If you enlist different companions for different shows, we won't tell—after all, it's your multi-show day.
6. There's theatre beyond Times Square - We love the Great White Way, but there's a wide array of shows Off and Off-Off Broadway, plus dance and concerts, so don't limit yourself! This is an adventure after all.
7. Unlock the Lincoln Center TKTS Booth advantage - Not a planner? No problem. You can still enjoy a multi-show day or weekend by snagging same-day discount tickets at TKTS. While our Times Square TKTS is iconic, our Lincoln Center outpost usually has a shorter line (shhhh) and it's indoors! So you can be toasty while you wait.
8. When it comes to COVID rules, be prepared - While Broadway shows are mostly mask optional these days, the safety protocols at other venues vary. Some mandate masks and a few even require proof of full vaccination. For up-to-date info, check the official website of the show you plan to see.
9. Choose your own emotional adventure - Tyler and I wanted to laugh, so our five-show day included two parodies, improv, jubilant dance and children's theatre. For me, comedy was key to loving the 13-hour trek. If you choose a heavy drama for your multi-show day, consider balancing it with lighter fare.
10. Never pay full price - Since I'm writing this for TDF Stages, I have to plug TDF's prices! TDF members can see multiple shows in one day or weekend without breaking the bank by taking advantage of our rich assortment of low-cost offerings, ranging from $11 for Off-Off Broadway to $57 for a Broadway musical. If you're not yet a member, see if you're eligible to join.
11. Don't forget to document your day - Because if you don't share your multi-show journey on social media, did you even have one?
Elyse Orecchio is TDF's Digital Content Manager. Follow her on Instagram and on Twitter at @elyseo. Follow TDF on Twitter at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Elyse Orecchio and Tyler Riley taking a selfie during their five-show day. Photo courtesy of the author.