TRIPS & TOURS

CHAIRMAN: Steve Fowls TELEPHONE: (201) 694-3399 EMAIL: stevefowls@gmail.com
We schedule annual afternoon "Senior Day" trips to Yankees and Mets baseball baseball games, evening trips to North Jersey theaters such as the Paper Mill Playhouse and the Bergen County Players, and anytime trips to other North Jersey places of interest like the Sterling Hill Mine in Ogdensburg. These trips often include meal stops at excellent-value restaurants in the target areas. Join in the enjoyment and enrichment that come from traveling short distances. You don't need exotic lands to have a good time, and you're in your own bed when the day is done. HOW TO SEE GOOD SHOWS FOR GOOD PRICES by Gordon Wallace There are many ways to see shows without paying full Broadway prices with parking and tolls additional. Here are some of them! Many, but certainly not all of the productions suggested below, have matinee performances. HIGH SCHOOLS: Most of the high schools in our area put on a play and a musical each year. Many use small accompaniments such as five pieces played by adults. Some save on sets or costumes, but performers work very hard and results are often very satisfying. Glen Rock offers a matinee free of charge to senior citizens. Fair Lawn has received prizes in competitions for their musicals. Tenafly always uses full (30+ piece) orchestras and rented costumes. Prices for high school shows are from 5 to 15 dollars. Call schools for information. COLLEGES: These schools offer productions by students directed by faculty and also bring in speakers, bands and other forms of entertainment also open to the general public, sometimes with discounts for seniors. Bergen Community College on Paramus Road offers plays, shows and musical per- formances by professionals at cut-rate prices. Go to BCC's website for the current show schedule or call (201) 447-7428. Other nearby colleges offering shows to the public are Montclair State University (call (973) 509-2113); William Paterson University, which has cultural events at Shea Auditorium (350 seats - call (973) 720-2000); and Ramapo College (call (201) 684-7500). COMMUNITY THEATRE: The Studio Players of Upper Montclair are in their 75th year of presenting enchanting productions. The Bergen County Players are in their 80th season in Oradell. The Activities Club has attended several productions of the Players preceded by dinner at a nearby restaurant. PROFESSIONAL THEATRE – NEW JERSEY Ticket prices are lower than Broadway. You save on parking and often on tolls. The directing and acting are professional. The particular play is what it is: wonderful, exhilarating, thought-provoking, hilarious, amusing, so-so, not very funny, or a waste of time. Just like Broadway or the West End! What you most often miss is the performance of a big star or a truly great actor. Every once in a while, however, one or more appear at the McCarter in Princeton, the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, or at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. The Bickford Theater is located in the Morris Museum in Morristown. They produce 5 plays per season and a subscription cuts a lot off the $35 per ticket tag. Artistic director Eric Hafen picks unfamiliar plays, but most are interesting and well acted. Call for details at (973) 971–3700 or 3706. George Street Playhouse is in New Brunswick adjacent to the State Theatre. It is a 350-seat house, which presents well-known fare in comedies and dramas. A few years ago, Jack Klugman and the marvelous Rosemary Harris appeared in different plays. The Paper Mill Playhouse is the premier legitimate theatre in New Jersey. Tickets are $25 to $92, but there are various discounts. Consider a partial subscription to save 20% or so. Unlike in most New York theatres, the back of downstairs is better than even the first few upstairs rows. Call (973) 379- 3636. The production values are equal to Broadway shows in just about every way. Traveling productions of recent Broadway musicals appear for short runs at the major “performing arts” palaces in north Jersey; namely, Bergen PAC in Englewood, NJPAC in Newark, and the State Theatre in New Brunswick. Tickets run from $25 to $80 depending on location. There some matinees for these shows and hearing devices are available at all three. PROFESSIONAL THEATRE - MANHATTAN My research yields several ways to see New York theatre without paying the current $96 to $120 prices for orchestra and mezzanine seats in Broadway theatres. 1. Buy tickets at the box office that are for the balcony. Most of the house is sold at the top price, but every show I know has some lesser-priced seats. We didn’t think we’d like The Producers. We saw it for $36 in the second row balcony only a few months after it opened when friends said there were no tickets available at all. 2. Get lower prices for Broadway shows. Go to the library and find a selection of coupons near the entrance. Follow the directions and get tickets for current plays and musicals. Kings Market also has arrangements with producers to distribute discounted tickets. 3. Subscriptions for the productions of theatre companies save 25% or more on each show. The premier companies in NYC are the Roundabout and the Manhattan Theatre Club. Roundabout’s full subscription includes eight plays per year put on in three different theatres. They have revived Pal Joey and Pajama Game, among others. They offer top actors (Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella, Phil Bosco, Jane Alexander, Cynthia Nixon, Stockard Channing, Lawrence Fishburn, et al.) The shows are classics and new plays by established dramatists. If you subscribe they are very helpful with exchanges of dates. The address is Roundabout.org and the phone is 212-719-1300. Manhattan Theatre Company operates in a similar style, but produces new plays by well-known writers like Durang, Depietro and Wasserstein.in two theatres. They also showcase stars from Hollywood, television and the stage. Use ManhattanTheatreClub.org. There are also Off-Broadway companies such as the Pearl Theatre Company that has a resident core company whereby a dozen or so actors appear in several of their productions over the season and hone their craft. Pearl produces comedies, tragedies and farces – classic plays from around the world. Subscriptions bring individual show prices to $35-43 range. Call 212-598- 9802. 4. Our most effective way to get tickets is to use TDF.org (Theater Development Fund). You join the organization for a year for $34. Their system is entirely on-line and updated instantly. Discounts range about 25% - 50%. You don’t know how good the seats are, but most have been fine (most theaters show their seating plans online, so you can consult this before committing). You respond quickly online and pay by credit card, usually up to six weeks in advance. Tickets are mailed to you or held at the box office, or in some cases printed at your home. The companion way to use TDF is to take up your sense of adventure! Go to the city. Go to the TKTS booth at Duffy Square (Broadway and 47th), stand in line and pick an available show. Tickets and usually discounted 50%, but a very few will be 35% or 25%. The booth just reopened and has two new features: there is a separate line for non-musicals and they now take credit cards! There are two other TKTS booths if you are elsewhere in the city. One is at South St. Seaport and the other is at the corner of Jay and Myrtle in Brooklyn. There are two other membership deals out there. Try Audience Extras.com where you pay $115 per year and then may buy seats for $3.50 to see concerts, operas and plays and even ball games. All of these are in short notice, a few days. A friend of mine saw Neil Diamond from the fifth row; saw Legally Blonde and a Mets game, each for $3.50. Another membership deal is called Play-by- play.com. This charges $110 per year, then $3.50 per ticket. Tickets for these shows include some dance company performances. 5. Playbill.com is a source to research. Go to the website If you find a show you like at the discount price, print the coupon and follow the directions. There are other discounters on the Web. Just Google "discount Broadway tickets" for a listing. However, the ones that I have personally experienced are those discussed in paragraphs 4 and 5 above. 6. Finally, there are two wonderful producers in New York that do outstandingly consistent work at fair Off-Broadway prices. One is the Mint Theatre at 311 W. 43rd St (212-315-0231). They seek out “worthy but neglected" dramatists including Edith Wharton, DH Lawrence, AA Milne and produce their plays. The other is the Irish Repertory Theatre at 132 W. 22nd St. (212-727-2737). The put on musicals and plays which are somehow related to Irish or Irish- American life. In recent years, they have done terrific small productions of Meet Me in St. Louis and Finian’s Rainbow. Tickets are $60 or under at this Theatre and $55 and under at the Mint. Hope these suggestions are helpful to your enjoyment of LIFE! Gordon Wallace 10/20/08 (updated by Ron Greenberg 10/21/2012)