Broadway and Blizzards: Questions and Answers

March 14 11 am

TKTS booth, March 14, 2017 at 11:15 a.m. All Broadway shows a go as of now — a good time to check out the TKTS discount booths.

 

When snow begins to fall, New Yorkers ask one question — how bad will it get? — and New York theatergoers ask three more:

Will the shows be canceled?

Will shows offer a snow day discount?

What if I can’t make it to a show that hasn’t been canceled?

Here are some general answers:

1. How bad will it be?

Check online at the National Weather Service and/or Weather.com. The National Weather Service, a government agency, also has a good Twitter feed specifically for information about the New York region, @NWSNewYorkNY.

2. Will the shows be canceled

In general, it is rare for The Broadway League to announce the cancellation of shows on the Great White Way. However, for two Januarys in a row — in 2015 and 2016 – Broadway was shut down completely for a day because of a blizzard. In 2015, it was a false alarm — there wasn’t that much snow — but the governor had shut down the subway system, so the League was worried about both theatergoers and casts making it to and from the shows. In 2016, there was more than TWO FEET of snow.

The best way to track cancellations of individual New York shows is to check their Twitter feeds or their websites.  Theater news sites (such as this one) also keep up on the latest information.

Will shows offer a snow day discount?

Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t. The best way to check this out is on Twitter. The shows themselves Tweet about it, and enterprising Tweeters (such as myself) often post their offers using a hashtag like #SnowDayDiscount. (Broadway shows are unlikely to advertise their snow day discounts on their websites. ) I have seen several hit shows, with impossible-t0-get-tickets, for steep discounts because I braved the elements to get there, when many ticket-holders didn’t show up.  (No, this did not include Hamilton.)

What if I can’t make it to a show for which I have tickets?
For information about refunds and exchanges, please contact the point of purchase. Here is the list that I compiled in 2016. (If these do not work for the tickets you have, please contact the theater’s box office directly):
Telecharge: 212-239-6210 or 800-543-4835 or online at telecharge.com
Ticketmaster: 877-250-2929 or Ticketmaster.com)
Disney on Broadway: 866-870-2717
Roundabout Theatre: 212-719-1300

 

Advertisements

Broadway and the Blizzard of 2013

 Broadway during a blizzard in 2000

Broadway during a blizzard in 2000

 

The "blizzard" in Times Square, February 8, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.

The “blizzard” in Times Square, February 8, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.

 

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for New York City and the metropolitan region for today and tomorrow, predicting heavy snow of up to 14 inches and strong winds, and bluntly advising: “Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.”

Thousands of flights have already been canceled, Amtrak will stop running trains between Penn Station and Boston’s South Station after 1 p.m. today, and Metro North after 5 p.m.,
Marc Jacobs has postponed his show during New York Fashion Week from Monday to Thursday.

What will this mean for Broadway and the rest of New York theater?

Update at 10 p.m.: All Broadway shows went on as scheduled tonight. Not every theater was packed, though.

 

theaterduringFeb8blizzard

(In fairness, this was ten minutes before curtain, and dozens more people arrived before the show started).

There are other “snow deals” being offered besides those from previous updates.

CSC, the Classic Stage Company, is offering $35 tickets available for all weekend shows of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Passion.

Update at 5:30 p.m.: Roundabout offers tickets tonight and tomorrow for $20 for Picnic and Drood if you show your Metro card at the box office.

Update at 3:30 p.m. La Mama ETC has canceled  Four Beckett Shorts tonight at 10 pm

Roundabout Theater Company announced they were continuing with Picnic and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, but have canceled the first preview of Tally’s Folly at the Laura Pels Theater. The box office will contact ticketholders.

Update at 1:30 p.m.:

Bloomberg at press conference about storm:  “I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal, but we want to be prepared.”

Update at noon:

The Broadway League announced: “As of now, all Broadway shows will play as scheduled.”

TKTS, the TDF Times Square ticket booth, announced: “Nemo doesn’t scare #Broadway#TKTS Patron Services is here to help, come grab tkts and we’ll tweet your pic!”

TKTS

Shows have been making individual announcements that they will go on as normal. An example on Twitter from the Mystery of Edwin Drood: “Snowpocalypse 2013 isn’t keeping #Drood down. All performances this weekend are scheduled to go on, so come stay warm at Studio 54! ”

If recent history is any guide,  individual shows will cancel one by one if conditions merit it, and the League will wait until it is obvious that no show can go on, and then announce blanket Broadway cancellation: During Superstorm Sandy last year, all shows on Broadway were canceled for three days.

Some see a blizzard as opportunity. I braved the blizzard of February 2010 to see what was then a hot show “Billy Elliot” at a deep discount. During the blizzard of January 2011, Broadway shows made $35 million, the highest grossing week in Broadway history; officials guessed that this was fueled by commuters unable to get home who figured they might as well see a show.

Stay tuned for updates about the storm that the Weather Channel has given the unfortunate name of Nemo.

Broadway during the blizzard of 1978. It was definitely insane out there, but that sign is from the advertising slogan from an electronics retail chain called Crazy Eddie: "Our prices are insane."

Broadway during the blizzard of 1978. It was definitely insane out there, but that sign is from the advertising slogan from an electronics retail chain called Crazy Eddie: “Our prices are insane.”

New York City Office of Emergency Management Winter Health and Safety Tips