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BEApart of It/New York NY: Under the Broadway Lights

BEApartofitNYNY: Tips, tricks, and recommendations for those attending BEA and New York City.

Hi, hello! I’m so excited to kick off this new series today; with so much chatter about BEA on blogs and all over Twitter, a little lightbulb popped up a few weeks ago. I’ve always loved to show people New York City (I discovered this in college when many of my roommates were from the West Coast and never visited before) so why not share some choice spots and helpful hints for BEA attendees?

I contacted some trusted New Yorkers (and a few bonus pals) to make this series a reality! So all this week, a lovely person will be showcasing a particular part of New York on their blog and hopefully a ) get you super excited about your upcoming trip and b) and give you a little guidance when it comes to what’s worthwhile and amazing. I don’t know about you but whenever I travel a great recommendation goes a long way. (Just like reading!)

Please don’t be shy in the comments, either! If you are a local or have been to New York multiple times before, I’d love to hear the places you can’t miss. I’m always looking for recommendations myself. That’s the best part about this city: endless possibilities.


More than concerts, more than going to the movies, I love Broadway! Off-Broadway! Live theater of any kind!

(A few weeks ago, I chatted about that obsession here.)

When I hear that people are visiting New York, one of the first questions I always ask: ARE YOU SEEING ANY SHOWS?

So I’m asking YOU:


I do hope you’ll find time between BEA and hanging out with your book buddies to make the most out of one of my favorite parts of New York City. The audience, the rush, the fact that you are seeing a one-of-a-kind performance unfold right in front of you? Nothing can compare.

First things first, price! My top tip when it comes to buy tickets to a show is to check BroadwayBox.com. This website collects every single discount available for every single show and it’s the best way to know what you can afford. Be sure to check the dates with each discount! There’s also Rush or Lotto opportunities (which means less money for tickets but for many of them you need to be a student or wake up SUPER early) that are well documented here.  There’s also the TKTS line in Times Square. I don’t find the prices are better than buying discounts tix beforehand but it is fun for the experience.

And now, for a few recommendations:


Matilda on Broadway

As lovers of literature, I’m sure you are not surprised I included this one. Matilda just opened on Thursday night (April 11) to rave reviews, after having a successful run in England. Based on the Roald Dahl book, Matilda is a musical and tells the story of a little girl with crap parents, a sweet relationship with her teacher, and her magical powers. [ Official website ]

Once the Musical

Once the Musical

This musical (which came out last in 2012) is based on the 2006 movie musical of the same name — the one starring the singers of The Swell Season. I watched this movie when it first came out and totally fell in love, and then last year, saw this musical twice in one week because it moved me so so much. It makes me choke up just thinking about it. Two people, both taken in their own way, meet over their love of music.  First? The set is an actual working bar and you can get drinks up there before the show and during intermission. Second? The entire cast plays their own instruments and it adds such a spark to the entire show. It’s a beautiful story with music I cannot stop listening to. (Cast recording is always playing on my iPod.) [ Official website ]

Peter and the Starcatcher

Peter and the Starcatcher

Another stage experience based on a book series by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry but this time a play! This is by far one of the most creative theater experiences I have ever had EVER. I never read the books but I was turned on to the play by a good friend, and I fell in love so much I’ve seen it 3 times. The play recently moved off-Broadway to New World Stages — the perfect home for such a cozy and innovative production. It basically tells the story of how a boy becomes Peter Pan and how that famous pirate becomes a villain. It is hilarious and extremely heartfelt (even after 3 viewings, I cry and laugh every time). [ Official website | Current Discount ]


Chicago on Broadway

I’m going for a classic with this last choice. I haven’t seen it in many years, but it’s sexy, funny, sad — all the emotions. Plus one of my Broadway crushes is currently starring at Billy Flynn (Adam Pascal). It’s different than the movie (of course) but it’s still nice to see both and compare, and maybe even hear a familiar song or two! [ Official website | Current discount ]

Runners up:

Spring 2013 Broadway Runners Up Recommendations

» Newsies: The 1990s cult movie comes to life with cute boys, awesome dancing and a ton of energy (the audience gives it total rock star treatment!)
» Avenue Q: Another show that moved from Broadway to Off, but if you are looking for something a tad inappropriate, sexy, and super funny WITH PUPPETS. This is the musical for you.
» Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella: If you are looking for classic musical, this is another great place to start. I saw it for my birthday and while it wasn’t perfect, I still loved hearing some of my favorite tunes LIVE. Plus the gal who plays Cinderella is a Broadway bombshell. (This is actually the first time R+H’s Cinderella has been put up on Broadway… you may remember the “recent” TV version with Brandy?)

Oh! I could really go on about this forever!

If anyone else has any show suggestions or Broadway tips, please do leave them in the comments! And if you have questions about any shows at all, please feel free to ask me! If I don’t know, I will try to point you in the right direction of the answer!

» Food recommendations from Hello, Chelly
» NYC Bookstore Stops from Alexa Loves Books

May 8, 2014 - 12:02 am

BEA Part Of It Year 2: A Glimpse At My NYC Bucket List - […] Alexa for compiling this bc I totally ganked it from her because I was too lazy to find the posts): Under the Broadway Lights Foodie Heaven Bookstores for Bookworms Quick Bites and Sweet Treats for BEA-goers Tips and Tricks […]

May 4, 2014 - 9:01 am

Return of BEA Part of It: Broadway + Brews - […] make sure your time is maximized to the fullest. I’m combining my two posts from last year (Broadway + beers) because so many of my suggestions are the same and this post is truly a supplement to […]

October 12, 2013 - 6:10 pm

Jennifer - One of my favourite things about New York is Broadway! My favourite musical of all time would have to be Wicked. Cliche I know, but I adore the story and the music. I know this series was for BEA (which I’ll probably never get to go to, sadface), but I’m finding it very helpful while trying to plan my next trip!

April 23, 2013 - 2:51 pm

molly @ wrapped up in books - So many good shows! It was really hard for me to choose a show, but I decided on a play — ORPHANS with Alec Baldwin, Ben Foster, and Tom Sturridge because it is only running for a few months.

April 22, 2013 - 12:02 am

Novel Sounds - […] Estelle from Rather Be Reading has a series where she and her friends showcases fun things to do/eat in NYC during BEA. As you may […]

April 18, 2013 - 12:34 pm

Estelle - TDF.org is a great suggestion, but there is a fee per year to sign up. If you are from NYC or live close enough to take advantage of the membership, I say go for it. I have a membership and it’s been invaluable. Many new shows have tickets up there for previews and if you are lucky you see something worthwhile in the daily lists of availability. Thanks for adding that in!

April 18, 2013 - 12:32 pm

Fiction Femme Fatale (@FicFemmeFatale) - Kinky Boots has been garnering rave reviews as of late so I’d suggest trying that if possible. And if you’re a student try signing up for TDF.org to get discount tix on shows.

For BEA highly suggest bring snacks during the conference then checking out a lot of great places in the East Village and Lower East Side. Just roaming about I assure you you’ll find something. Whether it be crepes or just cool diner fare and Clinton Street Baking Co. is a cool place to go early evening during the week so it’s not as crowded as the weekends!

Hope to see some of you at BEA!

April 17, 2013 - 11:51 am

Tara - Wait, you left out the plays that have something Harry Potterish about them 😉 This was such a great feature idea and I can’t wait to post tomorrow!

April 17, 2013 - 9:48 am

Midnyte Reader - I live an hour from NYC and I’m able to go in quite a lot. This is a great post and I’m looking forward to the feature. There is *always* something to discover in NYC, even for those who live there.

April 17, 2013 - 8:53 am

bookrockbetty - Why am I just finding this post now!!! I am so excited to be attending bea this year, especially since it was a last minute decision! I would love to Once – I adore the music. Newsies is always a hit as well. Love this series you ladies are doing. So so helpful for a first timer!! Doe this mean I get to meet you???? 🙂 🙂 🙂

April 17, 2013 - 12:13 am

Sarah - These all look so awesome! I’ve actually never seen any of these live before, but I think that if I was able to go see a show, I’d go see Wicked again. It’s beautiful, funny, the music is terribly catchy, and it’s just plain awesome. If it were still open (sobs because it’s not), I would go see Rent for the third time. For me, nothing beats Rent.

April 17, 2013 - 12:02 am

Quick Bites and Sweet Treats For BEA-goers! - […] an awesome week of tips and recommendations from various bloggers! Check out the rest of the series here! I’m excited that she invited me to […]

April 16, 2013 - 3:55 pm

Alexa Y. - I cannot explain how giddy and happy this post makes me. It’s been WAY too long since I’ve seen a Broadway show, and I’m thinking it’ll be time to remedy that soon! I definitely want to catch Matilda and Once (actually, I’ve been DYING to see both) soon 🙂 Great picks E!

April 16, 2013 - 2:24 am

Maggie @ Young Adult Anonymous - This is such a great feature, Estelle. I’m super jealous I won’t be able to experience NYC with the BEA crew, but I’ll bookmark this site for when I get to New York. Matilda looks soooooo good. I’m still kicking myself for turning down the opportunity to see Rent with the Original Broadway Cast back in the day. I did get to see Adam Pascal and Daphne Rubin-Vega in LA, but at different times.

April 15, 2013 - 10:44 pm

Tabitha S. - OH! I love this feature – I’m not attending BEA this year, but I am moving to New York this fall for school, so this is actually pretty cool! (:

April 14, 2013 - 5:36 pm

elena - I am ambivalent towards Broadway musicals (sorry, E :() although there was a brief period where I REALLY want to Wicked. Now I REALLY want to see Matilda! Thanks for the heads up about the student rush thing but wowww, it sounds INTENSE to get tickets.

April 14, 2013 - 5:18 pm

April Books And Wine - Just FYI Newsies came out in the 1990s (I’m a total fangirl hahaha).

I think I might go see Matilda while I am there. Peter and The Star Catcher sounds great too, like one that I would totally be into.

April 14, 2013 - 5:17 pm

VeganYANerds - I LOVE THIS! Thanks so much for doing this feature, I was going to ask you for advice on seeing shows while I’m in NYC for BEA. I looked it up and I think Annie is playing and I want to see that (even though I’ve seen it before) And now I defo want to see Matilda and Once!

April 14, 2013 - 3:23 pm

Allison L - I love this feature!

I’m really hoping to see a Broadway show while I’m in the city for BEA. Last year April, Tara (Hobbitsies), and I saw Newsies, and had so much fun! I’m leaning toward going to see Matilda this time around but, I’m waiting to see what else I may have to do, and if anyone wants to go with me.

I guess time will tell… 🙂

April 14, 2013 - 9:24 am

brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - OMG Newsies! Cinderella!!! Some of my favorites!!
I really wish I could go to Broadway. Unfortunately, my trip to BEA will be for BEA and visiting friends so I won’t have much time to do “New York stuff” for the most part. I n a way, I don’t mind because I don’t want to feel rushed and cram it all in there, but I would LOVE to see a Broadway show!! When I do, I’ll definitely come to you for recommendations!!! 🙂
Love the idea for this little string of posts and can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us!

April 14, 2013 - 9:19 am

Gaby @ Queen Ella Bee Reads - Even as a New Yorker, I LOVE this feature!!! Broadway DEFINITELY is a place to check out. I totally second the Peter and the Starcatcher recommendation. I saw it during it’s last week on Broadway and I didn’t realize it went off-Broadway. So sign me up to see that one again. I love all things Peter Pan! Also, Newsies is AMAZING. I really do need to see Matilda when I get home.

Great recommendations, Estelle. As for what I love to do in Manhattan? My favorite is wandering Central Park. I love to go with a packed lunch and read a book, but there are also so many awesome things hidden around the park. My favorite’s definitely the carousel. Or maybe Belvedere Castle. It’s totally worth it to download a map of the park and go at it.

Also, on the play + park front: Shakespeare in the Park starts up May 28th, just in time for BEA! The first show is The Comedy of Errors. TOTALLY worth entering the lotto for that. I saw Into the Woods last summer and it was AMAZING.

Aaaand this comment could carry on for a while, but I think I’ll stop it here!

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