Dork for New York: How to See a Broadway Show for Free

***Check out the other posts in this ongoing series here.  All the cool kids are doing it.

Guess what I did last Friday?


Aw… c’mon!

Just kidding.  You don’t have to guess.  (No one likes to play that game.)  I’ll just tell you.

***Disclaimer:  In case you’re not a fan of musicals and theatre and all of those good things, you might as well stop reading now and check back tomorrow, because I am about to NERD. OUT. HARD.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Josh and I visited the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) and saw a Broadway show for free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(That’s zero dollars!)

TOFT, located at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library — which is a magical land of wonderment unto itself — has an extensive archive of numerous Broadway productions (and tons of off Broadway and regional, too) since about 1970.  That’s musicals, straight plays, all that good stuff.  And for a whopping zero dollars, you too can have the same experience!

File:LPA at night.jpg

Image source: Kosboot via Wikipedia

But let’s back up a bit, I got excited…

I first heard of TOFT when I was in school, but at the time, I was far from living in NYC so I just sort of filed it away in my “When/If I Ever Live in NYC” rolodex.  Well, recently I had an “aha!” moment and remembered that this great resource existed.  I did a little research, checked out their website, and browsed through their catalog to see what was available.  Believe me, I typed in some pretty obscure stuff and they’ve got it… not to mention the age old classics (and no, I don’t mean Cats… though they have that in their archives too… unfortunately).

I wanted to surprise Josh (because I was pretty sure he forgot this place existed, too), so I scheduled a viewing of The Full Monty, a musical that we are notorious for singing at the top of our lungs when we’re home cleaning the apartment or cooking (this is a daily occurrence).  All I had to do was call TOFT (phone number on their website) and schedule the appointment, explain that my reasons were for research (we’re both actors and singers, so we’re always collecting research and experiences in this regard) and that was it!  They’re closed on Sunday and Monday, and only open 12-6, Tuesday through Saturday, but I found a Friday that we were both off to go.

I’d heard the place was set up kind of like a computer lab, so I made an unusual request in that I asked for us to be on neighboring monitors.  It was no problem though, since it wasn’t a busy day and they already have so many monitors anyway (like 23, I think?).  We just put headphones on, pressed play, and our show began.  And the video quality was surprisingly good; no wobbly-heavy-breathing-home-movie stuff here!

File:Theatre on Film and Tape .jpg

Image source: Kosboot via Wikipedia

And one more time, did I mention it was free?!? (except for, you know, taxpayer dollars and any donations they receive).

OK, so here are all the important details (via the TOFT website)

What:  Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the Library for the Performing Arts

Where:  3rd floor of the library, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, NY, NY 10023

When:  Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00-6:00 (Closed Sunday and Monday)

Looks like I’m going to be doing a lot of research from now on :)

Check out the other posts in the series “Dork for New York”

Dyker Heights Lights

Lower Manhattan Walking Tour

NYC Holiday Windows

Midtown Walking Tour