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Highbrow Theater on the Cheap

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Experiencing professional theater can come at a high price in New York. The average Broadway ticket goes for $75, according to data from the Broadway League. For new shows like "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," premium tickets cost up to $300, while a seat at super-popular shows like "Jersey Boys" can lighten the wallet by $350. But for theater-lovers looking for quality theater at the cost of less than half a month's rent, there are some shows open now offering highbrow quality on the cheap.

"Urge for Going" at the Public LAB Come summertime, people sleep in line to snag free tickets to the Public Theater's "Shakespeare in the Park" productions. But the Public LAB series presents dressed-down, less high-tech shows for $15, which is these days the price of a movie. Emerging and well-known playwrights get a chance to shine at the LAB, including Mona Mansour who wrote "Urge for Going" about a Palestinian family living in a Lebanese refugee camp, and Jonathan Marc Sherman, whose play "Knickerbocker" opens May 6. Audiences can also revel in the fact that they may be seeing a diamond in the rough—the critically acclaimed musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" got its start at the Public LAB before moving to Broadway last season. "Urge for Going" is open in Manhattan, through April 17.

"Good People" at Manhattan Theater Club Francis McDormand stars in "Good People," which is written by David Lindsay-Abaire who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for his play "Rabbit Hole". With the "30 under 30" program, young people who aren't too busy drinking PBR or listening to indie music can get into a Broadway show (starring an Academy Award-winner) for a price lower than most items sold at American Apparel. To qualify for the $30 ticket program, you must be in your first three decades of age. "Good People" is open in Manhattan, through May 8.

"The Dream of the Burning Boy" at the Roundabout Theater Company The Roundabout Theater's "Roundabout Underground" series lets emerging and lesser-known playwrights ride the coattails of the Roundabout's longstanding reputation. The productions onstage there, set in the company's black box theater, seek to foster young talent, like recent Julliard graduate David West Read who wrote "The Dream of the Burning Boy." The show explores the way regret ripples through a high school after the death of a popular student, and will have an extended run--possibly thanks to the show's rave reviews. Shows at the Roundabout Underground cost $20. "The Dream of the Burning Boy" is open in Manhattan, through May 15.