Broadway shows top the itinerary for many New York visitors. Of course, most travelers prefer to not blow the entire travel budget on a few hours in the city’s theater district. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to see your favorite performance and still afford to see all the city’s well-known attractions. Check out this list of ways to snag discounted tickets to Broadway shows.
A trip to the city’s TKTS booths are the most popular way to save on Broadway tickets. Theatergoers will need to secure their place in line early for the best chance at scoring tickets for same-day performances. The city offers three conveniently located TKTS Booths throughout Manhattan. New York’s Times Square booth is located under the red steps in Father Duffy Square and is understandably the busiest of the three locations. The city’s newest location is found in Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium at Broadway & 62nd. Located only 15 blocks from Times Square, it’s considerably less crowded. This Lincoln Center venue has the added bonus of being indoors — perfect on those chilly winter days. The third location is in South Street Seaport. Though not conveniently located to Times Square, those sightseeing in Lower Manhattan can quickly grab their theater tickets without the hassle of the midtown crowds. Download the TKTS app to view a list of current shows or visit the TKTS website.
Rush the Theater
Rush tickets are available for same-day performances only and can be purchased either when the box office first opens or shortly before the production begins. Seats are not only offered at the bargain price of $25 to $45 but are usually premium theater seats to sold-out shows. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Those feeling lucky can enter a lottery for a chance at winning premier theater seats for around $35. There are two types of lotteries to enter. The Digital Lottery has gained in popularity in recent years. It offers a quick and convenient way to try your hand at scoring these exclusive seats. Log on and register with the TodayTix app, choose your desired show and then sit back and cross your fingers. Winners are announced a few hours before curtain call and given a 60-minute window to claim their tickets. For those preferring a good ol’ paper and pen lottery, some theaters still run their lottery the old-fashioned way. To enter an in-person lottery, visitors will need to stop by the theater early in the day, fill out a form and drop it in a ballot box.
Standing Room Only Tickets (SRO)
Looking for a way to experience the hottest Broadway shows without having to pawn jewelry? Standing room only tickets are the most economical ticketing option — but, as the name implies, you won’t have the luxury of a place to sit. For as little as $25, visitors can experience a sold-out show if they don’t mind achy feet and a sore back. There is a slight chance, however, that an usher will escort an SRO ticket holder to an unoccupied seat should one become available.
Join a Membership Organization
- Theatre Development Fund - For a nominal membership fee, Theatre Development Fund (TDF) offers up to 70% off regularly priced tickets to qualified applicants. Members can enjoy the convenience of purchasing tickets online and in advance. A list of qualified applicants is provided on the TDF website.
- Papering Services - Not widely known outside of the theater community are papering services. If a particular show ends up with unsold tickets, the theater will look to “paper” or fill these available seats at deep discounts or in some cases even for free. Two popular fee-based papering services are Audience Extra and Play by Play.
- Dramatists Guild - Members of the Dramatists Guild — which consists of playwrights and composers — are eligible to receive free day-of-show tickets to unsold performances. Maybe this is just the incentive you need to start that screenplay you’ve been talking about.