Learn how to do Broadway at a discount

Pat-Med Library hosts talk on April 23


You could call Brian Stoll a Broadway superfan.

The West Islip resident has the Playbill from each of the more than 300 Broadway productions he’s seen over the years, many of which are autographed by legends like Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy.

Stoll saw his first Broadway show, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” in 1998, while a student at Binghamton University. That’s when he discovered he could buy discounted tickets with his student ID.

“I had to schlep all the way to Binghamton to find Broadway,” jokes Stoll, who works as a library assistant at Touro Law School.

Over the years, Stoll has learned the secrets of seeing shows for less than $60, which he’ll share in a talk called “Broadway on a Budget” at the Patchogue-Medford Library on April 23.

That $60 threshold—it used to be $50 when Stoll first started giving his talk in 2017—is a substantial discount from the average price of $161 during the 2022-2023 season, according to a survey conducted by the Broadway League, the trade association for the Broadway theater industry. Some shows cost even more.

Stoll’s 90-minute talk, which he’ll be giving in person and on Zoom, also covers the history of Playbill, the theater guide with information about the cast and production handed out at Broadway shows and regional theaters.

One question that Stoll is often asked, which he said he’ll be sure to cover, is whether there’s a market for Playbills. His answer: yes, there is, especially for newer plays and musicals, which are sought after by younger theatergoers.

Stoll will also cover the numerous ways to snag discounted tickets, like online lotteries and rush tickets, and going to the box office the day of the show to see if any discount tickets are available.

Stoll has his own firsthand experience of a life in the theater, having interned at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in New York and having been a seat-filler three times for the Tony Awards. Seat-fillers are people who sit in empty seats at award shows, so the audience looks full on television.

For one Tony broadcast, Stoll was seated next to legendary singer-songwriter Carole King, whose life story was made into the Broadway musical “Beautiful.”

That didn’t lead to any Broadway chitchat, however, Stoll said.

“Unless they speak to you, you’re not really supposed to have conversation,” he said. 

Stoll, who describes himself as “a superfan of entertainment,” has also done background work as an extra in a host of TV shows and movies, including “The Good Wife,” “The Mysteries of Laura” and the Netflix movie “The Week Of,” starring Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. 


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