If you’re planning a trip to New York, then visiting a Broadway show or two is a must do. There are so many shows that you may want to see, so you’ll want to squeeze in a visit while you’re there. As a wheelchair user, of course this experience may come with some difficulties, but if you know how, it’s actually fairly simple to see a Broadway show. Here’s what you need to know.
1.Know Where to Book Your Tickets
On regular booking sites, you may find lots of regular seats but not the wheelchair accessible options. Telecharge has the option to find such seating, and you can either book it through them, or get the link to book it on the website.
When using Telecharge, be aware that it only gives you a limited time to buy your tickets. If you need more time, it’s best to have someone help you with booking. Also, make sure you have everything else you need for booking, such as your credit card before you start the process.
If you can’t find the tickets you want there, it’s not the end of the world. You can call the box office directly, and they will be able to find any seats that are left for you. Often, they have the right seats open for you, even if they’re not showing up online. This is even true of shows that are showing up as sold out, so it never hurts to check.
Finally, make sure that you join up with the NYC Theatre Development Fund as they have an Accessibility Membership for those with disabilities. The membership is free, and you’ll get some excellent discounts on tickets.
2. Check What Kind of Seating is Available
Disability access seating can be very different, depending on the theater that you’re planning to visit. As such, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and see what they’re offering you. For example, the location of the seats varies a lot. At the Circle in the Square Theatre, they’re actually at the top back, and so you’ll need to access them via an elevator with an usher.
Typically, they will offer two different kinds of seating: there will be wheelchair seats, where you’ll need to stay in your wheelchair, and arm transfer seats, where you transfer from your wheelchair into the seat, and your chair is moved to another location.
Remember that you’ll only be able to purchase a limited number of seats for companions when you book a disability access seat. Usually, you’ll only get around one or two extra seats, so keep that in mind.
3. Prepare for New York Theater Buildings
As you’d expect, most theaters in New York will work to comply with disability law, so you should be able to access them without too many problems. However, these buildings are some of the oldest in the city, and so they can’t actually offer full ADA compliance. That means you could be dealing with things like tight corners, steep ramps and so on. If you need help, make sure you ask the ushers, as they’ll be ready to offer assistance.
They should all have wheelchair accessible bathrooms, and they’re often only available for those that need them, so you’ll be able to avoid long lines for the bathroom which is a plus. If you think you’ll need to visit them before the show, make sure that you arrive early so you don’t miss a thing.
4. Plan in Advance
As a wheelchair user, you’ll already be used to planning things out when you’re going on a trip. Planning for a Broadway show is no different. As well as planning for the shows themselves, make sure you’re thinking about the transport and accommodation, too. There’s plenty of accessible hotels in the area, so pick one that’s in your price range. As for travel, you’ll want to use cabs, as they often have wheelchair accessibility.
These are some of the best tips for visiting Broadway shows as a wheelchair user. Now you know how to get the best tickets and seats, plan your trip now and have a great time.