Cheap Broadway Tickets
One of the most pleasurable NYC experiences is to watch the velvet curtain rise for a dazzling Broadway hit show. But ticket prices can be prohibitively expensive ($100 is average), as well as difficult to get (recent Tony award-winner Book of Mormon has a year-and-a-half wait for tickets.) Desperate theatergoers have pulled all kinds of theatrics to get tickets, even camping out overnight at the box office. Here are some applause-worthy tips to see Broadway and off-Broadway showstoppers.
Buy same-day, discounted tickets to Broadway’s hottest shows at TKTS booths. There are several around town including at Duffy Square and South Street Seaport in Manhattan, and downtown Brooklyn. A TKTS phone app gives real time, up-to-date info about what’s up for grabs and what has sold out. Another tip: The lines at the TKTS booth in Times Square can be scary long while the booths at the Brooklyn and South Street Seaport locations are less popular and open earlier. If you prefer to see a play rather than a musical, the Times Square booth has a “Play Express” line, which is rarely lengthy.
If tickets are available for a show, you can purchase them at the show’s box office instead of through Telecharge, which charges service fees.
If a show is sold out, visit the box office on the day of the show to scoop up rush tickets that were refunded, canceled or released, and are offered at a discount. You may have to arrive several hours prior to curtain time. Some shows also offer a lottery system to release the rush tickets.
Standing room only (SRO) as well as obstructed view tickets are available for some musicals and dramas for about $30 a pop. Call the box office directly.
Official NYC Information Center
Located in Times Square, the information center gives out coupons for up to 50% discounts to classic shows like Phantom, Chicago and Mamma Mia. TheaterMania.com flyers with discount ticket info are also released weekly at the information center for hit shows like Catch Me if You Can. You can also pick up Minicards, pocket-size coupons for discounts to shows at venues including Radio City Music Hall.
Join the Playbill Club for free, which entitles you to discounted tickets and weekly updates about shows.
School Theatre Ticket Program
It began 52 years ago as a place for starving students to buy cheap theater tickets. Now School Theatre Ticket Program offers coupons for up to 50% discounts to anyone. Pick them up at the NYC visitors bureau. Offers are available online.
Tickets to shows that are in previews (pre-opening night) are usually less expensive than when the shows begin their run.
Savvy theatergoers keep current with shows that are not yet in previews or on Broadway, but will be in the near future. One good indicator of shows heading to NYC is the vibrant theater scene in London. What makes it big there usually moves to Broadway.
Off-Broadway shows are nothing to sneeze at in terms of quality and are relatively inexpensive. “On Broadway” simply means a theater that has more than 500 seats. “Off-Broadway” has fewer than 500 and off-off-Broadway, even fewer.
The Broadway Concierge and Ticket Center
The advantage of buying theater tickets through this venue located in the Times Square Visitors Center is that a concierge “holds” your hand to walk you through the process of securing tickets to your dream show. You can also “talk” to a live concierge online.
Experiencing a Broadway show is a once-in-a-lifetime event that lives up to the hype and is a great value.
Laurie Bain Wilson writes often about NYC and is the author of several travel guidebooks, including New York City Made Easy and New York City with Kids.