Going to opera and the theater feeds the soul, but drains the purse. As a result, LearnVest brings you some budget-minded ways to enjoy the performing arts:
1. Join A Membership Group.
In cities that support a major opera house, there is often the option to join a young subscriber club, often called a "BRAVO! Club." For example, the Seattle Opera's BRAVO! Club is available for people between the ages of 21 and 39. Membership costs $65 per year and provides discounted tickets (as much as half off!), special member events, and complimentary wine and coffee during intermission. To give you an idea of their usual prices, tickets for the upcoming show of Falstaff in the Dress Circle cost at least $140.
2. Buy Tickets At The Last Minute.
Rush tickets for music and theatrical performances are made available the day of the show. Rules vary by theater, but you generally must show up about two hours before the performance. The hit Broadway show In The Heights, for example, provides a limited number of front-row rush tickets for only $26.50, whereas regular orchestra seats cost $120. For Broadway rush information, click here. Theaters in many other cities have similar policies; in Boston, even the Blue Man Group has rush tickets!
3. See Movies At Off-Peak Hours.
AMC Theaters has rolled out the Weekday Escape program to slash its ticket prices for weekday shows.
4. Free Movies.
Film Metro allows users to sign up for advanced free movie screenings, including promotions and research screenings (in which you're asked for feedback on the film). Not only are advanced screenings free, but they're also sneak peeks at movies that aren't yet available!
5. Metropolitan Matinees.
The New York Metropolitan Opera House offers Live In HD, which is a series of live opera performances shown in high definition at participating movie theaters throughout the United States. The performances take place during Saturday afternoon matinees and generally cost $22 per seat. Typically, seats at the Met run from $20 (in the nosebleed section) to about $300.
6. Public Radio.
Public Radio stations may also offer membership discounts in exchange for $60 donations. Benefits can include free advanced movie screenings, discounts at local museums, and other attractions. Visit NPR.org for public radio stations in your region. For example, becoming a member for New York's WNYC includes special discounts at theaters and museums, including 2-for-1 tickets at The Brick Theater in Brooklyn.
7. Company Sponsorships.
If you're lucky enough to work at one of forty participating companies nationwide—full list here—then you're entitled to discounted theater tickets! These include Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theater venues. Discounts range from 20% to 50% through the Save My Seat program from The National Corporate Theatre Fund.
8. Fine Arts Sponsorship.
Corporations that provide significant support to museums can pass along membership discounts to their employees and/or customers. For example, Bank of America cardholders receive free access to over 100 museums on the first full weekend of every month. If you use the card for free entrance to New York's Whitney Museum, you'll save $18. Find a participating museum near you by clicking here. Additionally, Target sponsors 2,200 free events and reduced-price performances at 100 museums and cultural institutions. This includes a free concert series at Carnegie Hall, and free Friday nights at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. These events take place across the country, from San Francisco's Asian Art Museum to Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art.
9. Use Your AAA Card.
If you own the AAA card, you receive more than 24-hour towing services; you're entitled to discounts at a diverse range of venues. For example, in New York, the AAA card can get you discounted tickets to the Guggenheim, the Bronx Zoo, and the Radio City tour, among other attractions.
Getting some culture and saving money? Bravo!