Shakespeare in the Park tickets
May 15, 2019 10:54 AM   Subscribe

How early should I plan to be in line for tickets?

I am going to New York to see a dear friend perform in Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare in the Park on June 1.

How early should I plan to be in line for tickets? (He is going to try to help with his but visiting family may need the few he gets.)

Since I'm flying in, I probably won't have a folding chair to bring...other ideas for me to keep me intact while I wait?

posted by Riverine to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (8 answers total)
Best answer: Early. People start lining up at about 8 am. Some diehards even camp out overnight.

However, they hand the tickets out at noon, so you don't have to physically be there from 8 am until showtime, and once you get your ticket you can take off and do whatever until showtime. Also, if you go during the week, and if there isn't a "name" in the cast, you can get away with maybe showing up later. (i.e., if the cast is all just local theater folk and you're going on a Tuesday night, it'll be easier to get tickets than it would be to a Saturday night production that stars Zac Efron or whatever).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:59 AM on May 15, 2019

Best answer: I have usually tried to show up by 6:30-7:00 a.m. to the Central Park Shakespeare in the Park in the past, and I've always comfortably gotten tickets - I agree that it depends on the day of the week, the celebrity levels of the cast, the weather, etc., etc.

Worth knowing before you go: It will be kind of painful if you don't have a chair, but there's likely to be a guy renting folding chairs if you need one. I would at least bring a small fleece blanket to sit on, if nothing else. There's also at least one deli that delivers directly to the line, and they'll have a guy passing out menus. Be prepared for the line cops being very strict about getting out of line for any reason except going to the bathroom.
posted by Jeanne at 11:09 AM on May 15, 2019

Best answer: I did this two summers ago. Didn't have a folding chair and didn't feel the need for one. We had a blanket to sit on, which was totally fine. Bring a book or something good to read and some snacks. Chit chat with other people and just enjoy being in the park. I was with a friend, which made the time fly, but it was a beautiful morning and was really nice to just sit there on a summer morning. Wishing you good weather!
posted by swheatie at 12:26 PM on May 15, 2019

Best answer: Don't forget to put in for the digital lottery and for the in-person lottery at Lafayette St. (if you have another person) as backup maneuvers.
posted by praemunire at 1:04 PM on May 15, 2019

Have a folding chair delivered to the hotel/amazon locker/where-ever you're staying.

Might be a bit against the spirit of 'free', but if you've got the cash, ask your friend if they know someone who would wait in line for you for whatever the going rate is or find someone via the various gig-economy services.
posted by Static Vagabond at 2:59 PM on May 15, 2019

I used to go every year, and found I had to start getting there earlier and earlier. Could be that in the last weeks of the run you have to get there earlier. The park officially opens at 6am. Before then people line up at 81st and central park west. If you get on line at 83rd the odds are low of getting tickets. Being online at 5am I used to watch people just going into the park to essentially cut in line by the Delacorte. Never saw them having any consequences. In theory a cop could be by the theatre giving tickets and kicking people out of the park at 5am, but that isn't enforced, partially due to 5am joggers and dog walkers. There is the "rock of hope" beyond which you won't get in. I think it's about here.
Kmart at Penn station opens early and closes at 11pm so you could get a cheap chair or inflatable there.
If I were to go this year I would enter from the east side at 4am to wait by the theatre. Beware I think there are 2 lines, the main one that stretches along the perpendicular road, and another that is alongside the theatre for disabled .
posted by Sophont at 3:15 PM on May 15, 2019

Response by poster: Yeah, I only have about 38 hours in the city, I didn’t quite realize that 6-8 of them might be spent sitting on the ground in the park for a thing which might not happen. I appreciate all answers so far! It’s good to have realistic expectations.
posted by Riverine at 6:26 PM on May 15, 2019

Response by poster: I ended up getting Skip the Line tickets from my friend in the cast. Fabulous show! Thanks to all who replied.
posted by Riverine at 7:46 AM on June 6, 2019

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