Today’s guest writer is Erin Salvi, a Brooklynite with a passion for theater and impressive bargain-hunting skills.
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, one of the best forms of entertainment in New York City is seeing a show on Broadway. New York is home to some of the finest theaters in the world—but also the most expensive.
Full-price tickets to a Broadway show can leave your wallet a whopping $130 to $300 lighter. But with a little savvy and planning ahead, you don’t have to pay top-tier prices to see quality theater.
These are my 5 tips for catching a Broadway show without breaking the bank.
#5. Hit Up the TKTS Discount Booths
Courtesy of the Theatre Development Fund, the TKTS Booths are a godsend for theater lovers. With 3 locations around the city, these booths offer same-day tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows for 20-50% off the full price. The show inventory changes daily, so you’ll have to go to one of locations or check them out on Twitter to find out what’s on tap. The TKTS website also lists the shows that were available last week to give you a taste of what might be up for grabs (recent offerings included Anything Goes, Follies, and Seminar). Hint: the South Street Seaport and Downtown Brooklyn booths are inevitably less crowded—flock to these locations to avoid Disneyland-esque lines at Times Square. Check the Twitter feed (@TKTS) for the latest deals.
- Times Square Booth: Father Duffy Square, at the intersection of Broadway and 47th, New York, NY 10036
- South Street Seaport Booth: The corner of Front and John Streets, near the rear of the Resnick / Prudential Building at 199 Water Street, New York, NY 10038
- Downtown Brooklyn Booth: In 1 MetroTech Center at the corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue Promenade, Brooklyn, New York 11201
#4. Take a Stand or Rush the Stage
Two under-advertised ways of saving money on Broadway shows are standing-room-only and rush tickets, which typically cost a mere $20 – $30 per ticket. You’ll need some stamina for the former (yes, you really will have to be on your feet the whole time), but think of it as a way to burn off the 2 greasy slices of pizza you accidentally ate for dinner. Rush and standing-room-only tickets are usually available the day of the performance, either when the box office opens or a few hours before the curtain. Be prepared to arrive several hours early and be willing to wait. Often you will need a photo ID and payment in cash. Policies vary from show to show, so contact the box office of the production you’re interested in for further details.
#3. Roll the Dice
Are ya feelin’ lucky? For the theatrical equivalent of a craps game, you can take a chance and try to win tickets to popular shows like The Book of Mormon, Godspell, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Wicked, all of which hold ticket lotteries 2-2.5 hours prior to curtain. If your name is drawn, it’s usually good for 2 tickets between $25 and $40, which are often in prime seating locations.
#2. Be Young (or a Student)
No, this isn’t ageism at work—quite the opposite, actually. Many theaters and organizations recognize that youthful theater enthusiasts just don’t have as much money to spend on tickets as their older counterparts, and thus offer some great discounts for the under-35 set. Roundabout Theatre Company’s HipTix service offers $20 tickets for anyone between the ages of 18 and 35. Just call the Roundabout box office to sign up for free. You should also check out Manhattan Theatre Club’s “30 Under 30 Club,” offering—you guessed it—$30 tickets for those under 30, as well as Lincoln Center’s LincTix. Additionally, just as shows have general rush tickets, many also have student rush tickets available if you have a valid student ID.
#1. Do Online Research
Yes, this is the least exciting of the options, but you’d be surprised by the discounts you can find on shows just by keeping your ear to the ground (or to the theatrical chat room). Even if you’re not under 35, plenty of other websites offer great discounts on shows. Dig through BroadwayBox.com, Playbill.com, TheaterMania.com and StudentRush.org for great theater deals (many of the discounts on StudentRush are actually available to non-students). Finally, if you qualify for a TDF membership (the same folks who bring us the TKTS booths), they are constantly offering discounts on hundreds of different shows in New York. See their website for details on membership eligibility.
About the Writer
Erin Salvi is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. She enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee, rocking out to David Bowie, and thinking about the space-time continuum.
She is a contributor to TheExpeditioner.com and recently wrote about teaching English in South Korea.
Have you tried Erin’s tips? Share your experience by leaving a comment below!