All the State’s a Stage

November 15, 2016

There’s nothing better than going to an amazing theatrical performance and being swept into the emotion of the story on stage. No matter the time of year, there’s usually a hilarious (or tragic) play, or a beautifully performed musical showing somewhere in the state. Colorado’s local theater options are the envy of many of our neighboring states.

The downside to this embarrassment of riches is you can quickly go broke if you don’t have a strategy to enjoy your favorite shows for less. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to bring theater into your life and many of them are very affordable.

Go Local
Colorado has some great local theater ensembles—talented actors creating transformative theatrical experiences. One of the most well-known is the Boulder Dinner Theater, where you get to connect with the actors over a meal (they double as servers prior to the performance). Some of the greatest Broadway musicals—from Ragtime to Singing in the Rain—come to life in an intimate setting. The great thing about going to a dinner theater performance is you get to enjoy a meal while being entertained.

Go Early
Whenever possible, try to go to the first run of a show. Sometimes performers make some little mistakes, but typically the performances are fantastic. The benefit for you, though, is first runs are usually offered at a discount.

Afternoon matinees are also a great way to attend the theater as they’re almost always cheaper than the evening shows and offer the same great experience.

Some theaters also offer day-of ticket lotteries for popular shows that still have a few seats left. If you’re willing to roll the dice with your evening plans, it’s worth it.

Love Your Age
Though there aren’t typically too many discounts for young people once they leave college, the Radvantage program at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is legit. For a $20 flat fee, anyone aged 18-30 can enjoy steep discounts on two tickets for a wide variety of shows.

Likewise, if you want to bring your parents along, those over the age of 62 can use the code “SENIOR” to get 20% off online orders or go to the Office Box Window and receive 50% off an hour before the show begins.

Get Awkward
We’re talking awkward seats. You know the ones with the slightly obstructed view, or the seats in the last row. Don’t make a habit of this, but if the choice is to attend a show or not attend because the regular tickets are too expensive—getting a little awkward can pay off. You might not even notice after the first few minutes, especially if the action on stage is good!

Go With a Group
If you can scrounge together all your old college friends, your neighbors across the hall, your sister’s new boyfriend, and a few people from Nextdoor, group tickets can save everyone a ton of cash. Because you have to purchase all the tickets at the same time, Venmo is your friend. But it’s worth the extra work since it’s such a great way to see a show with your favorite people (and save big in the process). Please note: get an early start on organizing everyone, because there are usually a limited number of group tickets available.

Go on a Road Trip
Colorado has a deep, abiding love for the theatrical arts across the state. Plus, the further you drive away from Denver, the cheaper the tickets get—without sacrificing quality. Greeley has the Union Colony Civic Center which often has shows with prices starting as low as $5(!) per ticket.

Or head up the hills to enjoy a unique setting at the historic Central City Opera. While the tickets aren’t cheap, it does offer a discount for teachers.

Colorado Springs’ Fine Arts Center has already shared its 2017 season, which looks incredible.

While you’re down south, the theater program at Adams State University in Alamosa has a great reputation for offering professional-quality performances at $10 a pop for the general public.

Other Opportunities to Save
If you’re planning on sticking close to the Metro Area, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District has enabled the DCPA to offer even more discounted tickets to patrons via its DCPAccess program. These tickets are $10 for participating shows. Patrons can purchase them both in person or online.

Finally, if you or your theater buddies are active duty military, or you’re enrolled in a college or university, you can save on tickets by flashing those IDs.

If you’re a theater lover in Colorado you have an amazing number of opportunities to enjoy the theater at an affordable price. Are there other ways to save that you would like to add to our list? Share your tips in the comments!