So you’ve booked your trip to New York City and you’re super excited to maybe have a run-in with a celebrity? Well, you’re in luck because NYC is full of them and there are so many ways to be able to see them. From accidentally running into them on the street to sitting in the audience of a show they’re in, it’s easy to make this a part of your adventure to the East Coast entertainment capital.
PREMIERES, RED CARPETS & SCREENINGS
New York doesn’t have as many premieres as London or Los Angeles has, but occasionally there are some held and they’re often not easy to find out about in advance. Unless you’re in the industry, you won’t often be alerted in advance of a film premiere, but a way I at least attempt to find out what’s happening is to use Twitter as a tool. Using key search words like “premiere” and “red carpet” alongside “New York” or “NYC,” you’ll find posts for upcoming events that otherwise wouldn’t be easy to find through a Google search. There’s also plenty of free early screenings of films and TV shows that show all over the city, so if you want a free night out with entertainment, it’s not difficult to get tickets to.
LIVE TV TAPINGS
A big mistake people make is thinking that they can just come to New York and magically get into a television taping. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but sadly for many of the more popular tapings, it’s going to be something you have to plan for a month or two in advance and hope that you’re online at the right time. Shows like the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, literally get sold out within 5-10 minutes of them posting the next available show dates, and often they post over a month in advance. My tactic is to follow the Twitter account for the show (Tonight Show Tickets Twitter) and set it up so I get notifications sent to my phone. When the tickets go live once a month, I am ready to click through to the website and pick my dates. You can choose up to 3, and it says you’ll be put on a waitlist, but about 1-2 weeks before the taping you’ll get an email to let you know if you’ve gotten it or not. There are also other less popular and obscure tapings that you can get day-of tickets for if you’re lucky, so be flexible. You can also find tickets for shows through The Black List NYC.
Let’s be real, Broadway can be expensive. Even lottery tickets can be pricey. Thankfully, most of the shows I’ve gone to see have actually been free or cheap through sheer luck. Just for signing up for Show Score and rating some shows, I got free tickets to Kinky Boots! This doesn’t happen often, but you never know what perks you can get. TodayTix is also a good way to keep an eye on shows you’re interested in because sometimes you’ll find a good deal if you dig through the app a bit. And to know which of your favorite celebs are currently starring in a show, you can find out here.
Check here for what rush tickets & lotteries are available.
UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE THEATRE
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre is seriously the best place in New York City to see high-quality comedy and all for a small price or even free. Their flagship show, ASSSSCAT 3000 is every Sunday at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. The 7:30pm show costs $12 and usually gets sold out a few weeks in advance, and the 9:30pm show is free. Now, why would you go to this oddly named show? Because not only do the best improvisers at the theatre perform in this show (and are pretty big names in comedy themselves), but they always have a celebrity guest in their set to tell a story to help them generate improv ideas.
Get places EARLY. Never trust the times on the ticket or on the website because if it says 7:30pm, you’re going to want to get there at least 1-2 hours early because people start lining up early and most events are overbooked to ensure a full capacity. You don’t want to show up right on the dot and then get turned away.
Keep your cool if you run into a celebrity at an event. While most are happy to take pictures and sign autographs, it’s so rude to scream at them or touch them without permission. At some premieres, you could even end up sitting next to a star, so don’t be that person who makes them feel uncomfortable.
Don’t plan your vacation to New York around maybe getting tickets to a show or think you’ll for sure get tickets to a show for the exact dates you’re there. It’ll just leave you hurt if you do this. While many live tapings have a standby line for those who couldn’t get tickets, people usually start lining up for these very early in the morning, and they don’t let many people in from the line, so it’s potentially a time waster.
Social media is your friend when it comes to finding out things so start following entertainment accounts on Twitter and Facebook, sign up to newsletters and email alerts, and be okay with finding out things last minute and going to them without notice.
Don’t ever think you have to pay tons of money to enjoy entertainment events. While fancy talkbacks at film festivals and theatres can be upwards of $50+, why pay that when you can go to events for free? And you didn’t hear this from me, but if you visit this page, you can see which guests are on which shows for the day and if you’re really wanting to meet someone then if you go to Rockefeller Center and stand outside the side entrance on either 49th or 50th street between 5:30-7pm and grab a selfie or autograph when they come out. I don’t suggest this tactic because sometimes they’ll escape from the secret entrance to avoid you or won’t be happy to be accosted, so play with caution.