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Joan Marcus, Associated Press
Laura Bell Bundy and company in "Legally Blonde," on Broadway.

A trip to the Big Apple is always expensive, what with airfare, hotels and of course, show tickets. But Broadway has come up with yet another way to get its hands on your hard-earned dollar.

The problem? It sounds like a ton of fun.

Picture yourself walking into "Legally Blonde." You find your orchestra seats, covered in a pink polka-dot seat cover, with an exclusive "Elle's Lounge" tote filled with fun goodies and a signed souvenir program. It's part of what buying "Elle's Lounge" tickets will get you. You'll also get free treats at intermission and a post-show talk-back (complete with a photographer, of course) as you meet the cast and capture memories. All this for $201.50.

You "Wicked" fans can buy the "Behind the Emerald Curtain" tour. This one is a little more doable: For $31, you can take a Saturday-morning tour of the Gershwin Theatre — go backstage, see real props, costumes and wigs and watch a video. It's available even if you don't have tickets to the show.

"Xanadu" has offered ladies-only and men-only parties at some of their shows.

Even the off-Broadway shows get into the mix: "Altar Boyz" offers a VIP package that includes T-shirts, buttons and meeting the group (priceless!) for only $125 — which actually isn't that bad considering the cost of a regular tickets these days. There is also an "Altar Boyz" fantasy camp where — for free — your group can go to the theater and learn the hip-hop moves of the Boyz. Doesn't that sound great?

So, if you're heading back East, spend a little time online so you can buy yourself a little VIP treatment, Broadway style!

Here are the Broadway happenings:

Phantom: Twenty-one years after it opened on Broadway, "The Phantom of the Opera" just celebrated its 8,500th performance. Isn't that remarkable? Worldwide, "Phantom" has grossed more than $5 billion. To put that in perspective, the world's highest-grossing film, "Titanic" made $1.8 billion. "Phantom" is THE most successful entertainment venture of all time!

Memoirs Abound: At least three Broadway divas will be dishing about life onstage, offstage, and all the backstage antics in-between. Kristin Chenoweth's "A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love and Faith in Stages" will be released in April 2009. Elaine Page's memoir will be out in October, aptly titled "Memories," because she created the role of Grizabella in London and introduced the song to audiences. And finally, I'm sure you've heard Patti LuPone also will release her personal story in 2010 — she hasn't titled hers yet ... any suggestions?

All Aboard!: Imagine taking a cruise that has lined up some big Broadway names to entertain you as you sail the ocean blue. Christine Ebersole, Andrea McArdle, music director Seth Rudetsky and even Ross the Intern all on the same ship. The only problem? You have to deal with Rosie O'Donnell, too. This is the fifth anniversary cruise of R. Family Vacations, which was co-founded by Rosie. I suppose as long as she left the singing to the professionals it might be tolerable.


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