Something unexpected has happened. I’ve rediscovered something that has been seemingly elusive: an affordable, overnight trip to New York City to see a gay show on Broadway. The city that never sleeps has a reputation for sky-high hotel rates. It’s been tough to find both a chic hotel at a great price and an LGBT-themed show.
What’s going on and how can you plan your own trip? Here are a few of my tips from an expert traveler.
My new best-value-for-the-dollar hotel is the brand-new Hyatt House at 6th Avenue and 28th Street in Chelsea. Hyatt’s loyalty program and 100-percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index is a win-win for LGBT travelers. The rooms at Hyatt House will remind you of a New York apartment. The hotel is in walking distance of Penn Station (saving a cab fare) and close to the Chelsea gay bars, including Boxers and the Eagle.
Your stay comes with free hot breakfast. The only thing that beats the location is the price. Twice this winter, I’ve stayed overnight for about $225, with modern rooms with enough space for two people and stunning views of the New York skyline. The one-bedroom suite is luxurious and will sell for around $400-$500 in April, but prices vary depending on the season and day of the week. My go-to hotel booking site is www.trivago.com if you want to shop around.
Gay Broadway is making a comeback. To appeal to the masses and drive attendance, Broadway relies on Disney-produced shows (“Frozen” just opened and joins perennials “The Lion King” and “Aladdin”) and revivals like “Hello Dolly!” and “Chicago.” And Broadway is featuring the return of “Angels in America,” starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield, which tells the compelling story of the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Another revival hitting the stage is “The Boys in the Band,” the first show credited with bringing gay lives on stage. Finally, Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song” will return as well.
Perhaps even more exciting than these important Broadway revivals is the Off-Broadway new hit play called “Afterglow” at the Loft at the Davenport Theater. (Note: the theater is really in the Broadway district.) Written and directed by S. Asher Gelman in his debut play, “Afterglow” tells the story of a gay couple, their open relationship and what happens when they invite a new man into their lives just as they are expecting the birth of their first child. “Afterglow” is a modern story of gay marriage, open relationships, parenting, sex and love. The 90-minute, no-intermission drama is compelling, with exceptional acting by Joe Chisholm, Brandon Haagenson and David Merten.
If you’re comparing prices to Broadway shows, “Afterglow” is affordable. Last Saturday night, the ticket price was $79.50 (plus an absurdly high Telecharge fee on top of that, so if you can pick up the tickets at the box office, you will save a few bucks).
If you are looking to add more Broadway to your NYC trip, a not gay but hilarious and relatively affordable option is a ticket to “The Play That Goes Wrong.” I found two-for-one tickets during Broadway Week in late January.
Getting to New York from Philadelphia is easy. There are many affordable options. I’ve scored great deals on Amtrak booking trips during their special-fare sales with one-way fares as low as $51, but during peak travel times, expect to pay a little more.