Planning a Field Trip to Broadway

Broadway is situated in Times Square, located in mid-town Manhattan in the heart of New York City. Times Square, also called the Theatre District, consists of the city blocks between Sixth and Eighth Avenues from east to west, and West 40th and West 53rd Streets from south to north. Formerly called Longacre Square, it was renamed in April 1904 after the New York Times moved its headquarters to the Times Building, now called One Times Square.  Nicknames for this bustling neighborhood include ‘The Crossroads of the World’ and ‘The Great White Way.’  Look no further than this famed destination to deliver a unique cultural experience with many exciting activities for your students.

Although traveling to New York City to see a Broadway show can be a memorable event, you can also take your students on a Broadway field trip in your own hometown! Broadway shows travel to performing arts centers and theatres across the country—where student groups are welcome and encouraged. Most theatre arts organizations offer a wide variety of educational programs and services from study guides and in-school residencies to interactive workshops with touring artists and special student group prices. Call your local performing arts center to learn more.

In the mean time we have compiled a list of tips to help you plan a successful Broadway field trip for your students.

1. Select a show for your class.

A Broadway shows always offer an educational benefit that can be relevant to students no matter what their course of study —an historical theme or subject, a socially relevant idea, a compelling cast or a physical production that features an achievement in theatrical design. Give some consideration to both the content and context of the lessons you will be teaching during the year as a starting point for selecting the show(s) that can provide a new dimension to the curriculum you will present. The New York Times, www.nytimes.com, maintains a listing of Broadway, Off-Broadway and cultural events in/around New York City. Similarly, your local newspaper and your local performing arts center is the best place to go for information. For your convenience, StageNotes.net will provide a listing of all Broadway shows and the major Off-Broadway shows playing in New York City. Our listing will include a link to the show’s website where you can learn more about the shows’ themes, creative team and cast, as well as direct access to the authorized single ticket site and group sales agent.

2. Book your tickets through an authorized group sales agent.

If you Google ‘tickets to a Broadway show’ it is possible that you will be directed to an unauthorized, third-party ticket reseller. Please make sure you are purchasing your tickets from the authorized sources on Broadway or in your own town. For Broadway, call Telecharge at 212.239.6200 or visit Telecharge.com or Ticketmaster at 800-653-8000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. For the best prices and full-service, we recommend you contact the theatre directly—their box office, their authorized telephone and online ticketing service or their in-house (or authorized) group sales department. There are several reputable group sales agents working on Broadway including Group Sales Box Office, Shubert Group Sales and Nederlander Sales and Patron Services, whose team specializes in student groups for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. (www.NederlanderGroupSales.com)

3. Learn about the many restaurants and attractions in Times Square.

A recent survey conducted by Travel and Leisure Magazine has revealed that New York City in Times Square is the world’s top tourist destination.  This condensed area is home to numerous world class and student-friendly restaurants and attractions perfect for every age group.  For the latest news about happenings in and around Times Square, click on www.timessquarenyc.org. Leave time in your itinerary to visit the newly renovated Times Square Visitor Center, a 6,000 square-foot free mini-museum with unique exhibits that tell the story of Times Square, located on 47th Street and Seventh Avenue next to the Palace Theatre.

4. Reserve your lunch or dinner.

There are many restaurants in and around Times Square that cater to student groups.  Visit RESTAURANT under the BROADWAY section of our website to find a listing of restaurants that cater to the needs of student groups with special menus and pricing.

5. Schedule a pre-show workshop with a Broadway professional.

Augment your students’ experience at a show with a customized workshop or post-show chat. Your group sales agent can assist you in coordinating a performance or behind-the-scenes focused class taught by an experienced Broadway professional. StageNotes.net offers several great options in our WORKSHOP section.

6. Prepare your students for their visit to Broadway by downloading a free study guide.

StageNotes.net will post available study guides for shows running on Broadway and on tour.  The design, structure and content of these study guides is informed by suggestions from teachers who said they need easily accessible lesson plans and student activities that address core standards with information that can be taught in a 40-minute class period.  Our study guides are adaptable for every grade band but are particularly popular with middle and high school teachers.  Click on STUDY GUIDES on our website for a selection of current and recent Broadway shows.

7. Travel safely into and out of New York City.

Whether you are coming in a small or large group, travel into New York City, particularly Times Square, can be daunting.  Before you embark on the journey have your car, fan or bus driver review the routes in/out of the Theatre District provided on the New York City’s Department of Transportation website, http://www.nycgo.com/traveltrade/tools-for-the-travel-trade. In addition, visit the PARKING section on our website where you will find a Broadway theatre map, as well as special prices for convenient parking for cars and small vans. School buses can not park in/around Times Square.

For travel on the Metropolitan Transit Authority, visit www.mta.info/nyct/ for maps and schedules.