Sure, the show is free, but when has that stopped anyone in New York from using their wallet to get what they want? If none of the above methods work for you and you’re in a pinch (or you just really like to spend money, no judgment here), the options continue.
One increasingly common technique is to pay someone to stand in line at Central Park for you. Service platform TaskRabbit offers line waiting as a “featured task,” with many tasker’s prices beginning at $17.64/hr. If you go this route, allow your tasker at least three hours for a fair shot at scoring tix.
And like with any high demand show, you can always try to scalp tickets at your own risk. Laura Stampler, an author currently living in Greenwich Village, once paid $50 -- a relative bargain compared to some reports -- for a ticket she found on Craigslist.
“I was a college student, in town for just a couple days, and writing my English honors thesis on Shakespeare. I had to see the show, but didn’t want to spend the little time I had in New York waiting in line for a ticket, and risk not even getting one,” she says. “Hours later, I was meeting a random guy in a Starbucks to buy a ticket to that night’s show. Luckily, it wasn’t a forgery, and he wasn’t a murderer. The show was great,” she says.
Those with the biggest hearts/fattest wallets can also make a casual donation of $500 or more to The Public Theater to score two reserved seats. Donations are one of the ways the show stays free for everyone else, so if you’re in a position to pay, you should.
“I love going to the theater, but it can be prohibitively expensive for a lot of people; Shakespeare in the Park provides the opportunity to everyone in New York to see incredible theater for free,” Hufford says.
“There’s a moment right before the show begins, when the lights dim and they play a recording of Oskar Eustis, the artistic director at The Public Theater, welcoming everyone to the show,” she says. “He always ends with something like, ‘This theater belongs to you. Culture belongs to everyone,’ and it gets me so emotional every single time.”