The ‘Birthday Candles’ Broadway cast on Rush tickets and accessibility in theatre
Broadway actors: They’re just like us. They love seeing theatre just as much as we do. But not even actors can snag top-dollar tickets to every Broadway show. So what do they do? Sometimes, they buy Rush tickets to hit productions. When you’re on the TodayTix app trying to snag same-day Rush tickets to the latest hit show, you never know what actor might be doing the same thing on their day off.
You might have booked Rush tickets at the same time as Christopher Livingston, who’s currently performing alongside Debra Messing in Birthday Candles on Broadway. Earlier this season, he used the TodayTix Rush program to see Lynn Nottage’s Clyde’s, starring Uzo Aduba: “I was so excited to see people who I know on that stage and some that I don’t — that play, it just brought me so much joy.”
“And Skeleton Crew — so good to see my boy Joshua Boone kill it,” he continued, referencing Dominique Morisseau’s recent Broadway play that he also got Rush tickets for. “That’s my brother. I love that man.”
We might not all know people on the Broadway stage like Livingston does, but that feeling of joy after seeing a great show is universal. And now he’s getting to bring that joy to audiences just like him: Following in the footsteps of Clyde’s and Skeleton Crew, Birthday Candles has Rush tickets available on TodayTix, which are sold day-of for $29 on the app.
TodayTix offers Broadway and Off-Broadway Rush tickets; Broadway Rush tickets tend to range from $20-40, while Off-Broadway tickets can be anywhere from $10-30. There are a limited amount available per day, but you can set an alert to find out when the Rush opens each morning and be one of the first people on the app to snag them. And if you miss out one day, you can always try the next! Find out more about Rush and Lottery tickets in New York on TodayTix.
Livingston said that the TodayTix Rush was “the only way [he] could see shows sometimes,” and he spoke to the importance of affordable theatre tickets.
“When it comes to diversity and inclusion’s sake, it helps for those reasons too. Everybody can’t afford to spend $200 or $100 on the ticket. Theatre should be for everyone,” he said. Birthday Candles leads by example: In addition to Rush tickets, regular tickets start at $39, so the prices are still accessible for audiences looking to buy in advance. The thrill of trying for a Rush ticket, though, is that you might get a seat closer to the stage, and it’s a great last-minute option if you suddenly find yourself free.
Birthday Candles is about one woman’s life journey throughout 90 years, during which all types of people come and go from her life and change her perception about what makes living worthwhile. (Will & Grace star Debra Messing plays that woman, named Ernestine Ashworth.) As such, it’s a play that benefits from having people from various generations and backgrounds in the audience, and Birthday Candles‘ Rush and regular tickets both make that possible.
“My great sadness about American theatre is that the audiences don’t necessarily reflect the demographic makeup of the entire country. And plays are meant to reflect a community to itself; there’s no reason to do theatre without an audience,” said Susannah Flood, another Birthday Candles cast member. “So the more that audience can be filled with people who come from all walks of life who have all different perspectives, the more powerful the play experience is not just for the audience, but for the performers as well.”
“When I was younger, I needed to have a $30 ticket; I wouldn’t have been able to see plays without them,” she said, speaking to how Rush tickets can help people like college students access theatre.
Flood continued: “Anytime I’ve worked on something where the audience is not paying a lot of money, they are more open-hearted, more down for the adventure.” For a play like Birthday Candles, in which 90 years fly by in 90 minutes and Messing bakes a real birthday cake on stage, that sense of adventure is necessary.
Veronica Mars actor Enrico Colantoni, who stars alongside Messing as her high school boyfriend, put it most simply: “Everybody needs to see this play. Everybody.” The availability of Rush tickets can make that happen — no wishing on birthday candles required.