NYC: Free Shakespeare in the Park & How to Get Tickets!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Happy Friday! Wondering what you should do this weekend? How about going to see Free Shakespeare in the Park? My first time experiencing Shakespeare in the Park was when my High School English teacher took the class to see it in our local park over fifthteen years ago (wow that really dates me huh? At the time, I was already impressed with the entire production, however, New York's version of Shakespeare in the Park is a million times more grand than what I experienced all those years ago.



Shakespeare in the Park actually started in New York City. This 51 year old annual tradition in Manhattan located in the beautiful Delacorte Theater, right in the middle of Central Park. It has stadium seating with beautiful views of the Belvedere Castle and greenery that you learn to appreciate when living in the city. Not to mention, since the show usually starts at 8, you can see the sun slowly set as you watch the show. I've gone to shows for the past four summers that I've lived here, and there's honestly nothing like it.

Every summer, there are two different productions, this year is for Much Ado about Nothing which I saw a month ago, and King Lear is available to watch from July 22-August 17 so it's definitely not too late to partake in this amazing NYC tradition! This year's production of King Lear features John Lithgow (Hello 3rd Rock from the Sun!) - love how there are always celebrity actors in these shows. One year I saw Amy Adams in Into the Woods, which was an awesome musical.

A secret picture (pictures prohibited! I'm such a badass) of Into the Woods - Loved this set!

How to get tickets for Shakespeare in the Park

The best part about Shakespeare in the Park is that tickets are free. However, the worst part about Shakespeare in the Park is that... well, tickets are free, so you'll have to jump through some hoops to get it. There are three ways to get tickets and I've tried two of the three methods:

1. Be hardcore & wait in line. The most traditional route which is to wait for them. People are crazy about getting tickets to Shakespeare in the Park since it is such a great production. So, like many things in New York, there are people who would camp overnight for it. The park doesn't open until 6AM, but there will be people waiting outside long before the park opens. Tickets get distributed at noon, here's all the rules around that.

My recommendation would be to get to the park entrance at W81st and Central Park West at around 5:30AM and you'll have a pretty sure chance of getting tickets, especially on nights in August since more and more people hear about it. Let's face it, if you're lining up for 6+ hours for tickets anyway, you don't want to take the risk of them running out of tickets by the time you get there. I'd say don't even bother trying to line up starting at 7:30AM because you'll honestly be too late.

2. *RECOMMENDED* Sign up for the Virtual Ticketing Lottery . In lieu of lining up for 6+ hours, you can try your luck in entering for the daily drawing that's online. All you have to do is just go to their website and add your e-mail and address in for a drawing. You'll know by around noon-1PM if you got tickets, and have a short time window between 5-7PM to pick up tickets from the theatre.

Some people get lucky with virtual ticketing - I've actually gotten pretty lucky *knock on wood*, and have been able to get tickets within the first 5 times entering the lottery. I've heard from others that they consistently try without much success, but I've personally gotten tickets 5 times this way - so definitely not impossible, and definitely worth a shot!

3. Buy tickets. I've seen deals on Gilt City from time to time with tickets to Shakespeare in the Park. I know that other supporters of the Public Theatre also gets tickets, however the prices for these start at around $150, which is a bit pricey when I know I can get tickets for free.

No matter how you decide to get tickets, go see a show in Central Park this summer, you won't regret it!

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