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Deal of the Week: London Theatre Bargains (5/10/2002)

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Travel Expert Rudy Maxa is traveling again. This week, he calls in from Skibo Castle in Scotland. Skibo is actually a pricey hotel that will set you back a grand a night for one of its chi-chi Edwardian rooms. Pop culture junkies will recognize it as the place where Madonna got hitched to that director guy.

No Madonna sightings on this jaunt. But Rudy also took a side trip to London, and he brought back something even better -- theater deals. After all, no trip to London would be complete without taking in some theater. The play's the thing, you know, and Rudy will tell you how to see one (or two or three) without busting your travel budget.

Savvy Resources:

Skibo Castle

Before traveling to the United Kingdom, be sure to surf
http://www.travelbritain.org and http://www.visitbritain.com or call 800-462-2748 for general information.

For information on special events connected to the celebration of the Queen's 50-year reign, check: http://www.goldenjubilee.gov.uk

For information about all theaters in London, visit the Official London Theater Guide, http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk, and http://www.goodshow.com. Both sites have links to nearly all London's theaters, plus good practical information, such as the nearest tube stop. Tickets can be purchased through both these sites and through http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk. Where possible, though, it is preferable to buy tickets directly through the individual theater's web site. If you don't have much time before your trip, check out http://www.lastminute.com, which often posts some great deals. One of my newsletter correspondents was able to snare a balcony-seat ticket to "My Fair Lady" plus a pre-theater meal at a nearby restaurant for just $30.

Free, weekly e-mail theater magazine with news of openings, memorabilia auctions, awards, critics' reviews, and theater info from all over the world, incl. Broadway. Go to http://www.theatrenow.com

Sells tickets as well as hotel/ticket packages.

http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk sells tickets, but try first Edwards & Edwards via Globaltickets in the US:

Virgin Atlantic Vacations offers packages, as well:
888-YES-VIRGIN or http://www.virgin-vacations.com

Theatre Breaks Ltd.

British Tourist Authority

http://www.OfficialLondonTheatre.co.uk Lists current West End productions and sells tickets with a modest service fee.

http://www.goodshow.com lets you buy tickets and also has excerpts--good and bad--from reviews.

For last-minute tickets, try http://www.lastminute.com.

Half price booth at Leister Square is at http://www.tkts.co.uk for half-price tickets on the day of the performance. Cash only! Formely called the Leiscester Square Half-Price Theatre Ticket Booth, it's now called tkts. Beware other storefronts and scalpers around Leicester Square claiming to be the REAL discounters; only tkts is connected to the nonprofit Society of London Theatre. It's in front of the Odeon West End Cinema. In addition to half-priced tickets, you can buy 25% off and full-price tickets. But if you're paying full freight, avoid the tkts' fee of $1.50 per ticket by buying at the theater.

Royal Shakespeare Co. at the Barbican http://www.rsc.org.uk

Globe Theatre: http://www.shakespeares-globe.org, south of the Thames close to the original. You can stand in the front as a groundling, just as they did in Shakespeare's time. May to Sept only.

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