New York City is a crazy/cool place for theatre. Any actor who wants to pursue a career in theatre generally finds them self here at one point or another. And most aspiring actors know how hard it is to have a life in the theatre.
Unfortunately, just the act of going to the theatre (forget acting in it!) can be just as hard because of the price.
But there are a lot of affordable ways to go and see shows. You just have to be able to work a little bit.
Student and General Rush
Most shows out there have rush tickets. Some of these are available only to students or people under 25. To check rush listings I go to a couple of places. The first is Talking Broadway's Board. It has listings for both Broadway and Off and seems to updated the most often. I always double check it against Playbill's Rush Listings. But the Playbill one is only updated every so often, so when in doubt go with the Talking Broadway site.
Usually with rush tickets there are two ways to go about getting them. Either they go on sale when the box office opens (usually 10:00am) or they go on sale two hours before the show starts. They are almost all $25 (plus a mandatory New York ticket fee called a "theatre restoration fee" of $1.25).
For those people who don't like planning their evening plans that morning, most of the new shows opening have either $20 or $25 tickets for the last two or three rows in the balcony. Not the best, but you can reserve a seat in advance which is a perk.
20 @ 20
Every year, Off-Broadway gets together and does a promotion they call 20 at 20. Basically, Off-Broadway shows sell a set amount of tickets at 20 minutes to curtain for $20. There are a few good ones out there to see (at least for $20). Altar Boyz and Forbidden Broadway are both fun, but expect lines at both as they are popular. I've heard good things about Oroonoko and Naked Boys Singing though I haven't seen them. Roundabout's Crimes of the Heart is also included on the list, and worth checking out.
BUT beware that the 20 @ 20 event is for two weeks only! It starts Monday the 25th, and ends Sunday, March 9th. Also, I guess there is a promotion where if you see 5 shows you get a voucher for a free dinner for two!
If this all sounds a little BOGO, well.... it is basically. But it's about time theatre starts to become more accessible. I mean, like Star Jones once said, "doesn't it feel good to pay less?"