Broadway on a budget!
By Seth Reines, May 2019 Issue.
If you are
traveling to New York City this summer and want to catch a Broadway or
off-Broadway show but don’t want to pay exorbitant New York ticket prices, try
Head to TKTS
The classic way to
find deeply discounted tickets is to wait in line on the day of the show at
Theatre Development Fund’s TKTS Booth under the red steps in Duffy Square (47th
Street and Broadway). All but the biggest Broadway hits are on sale there,
mostly at 50 percent off. Download the TKTS app or visit its
website to see what is available. You can also try the downtown TKTS
booth at South Street Seaport (corner of Front and John Streets) or TKTS
Downtown Brooklyn (One MetroTech Center at the corner of Jay Street and
Myrtle Avenue), which sell matinee tickets a day early. If you are not looking
to see a musical, the Times Square booth has a “Play Only” window that will cut
down your wait time.
Great a resource as it is, TKTS has limitations: You have to wait there
in person, often for a long time, and you can only get tickets on the day of
the show. Thankfully, the Internet provides many options for those who want to
plan a little further ahead. The handy TodayTix app lets you find
discounted tickets on your mobile phone, up to week in advance. Another
reliable online source for cheap tickets is nyctix.com. Membership costs
just $4 per month. Good discount codes can be also be found at Broadway Box,
Broadway Insider and Entertainment-Link. If you’re looking to combine a little
generosity with your thrift, try Givenik. When you buy full-price or
discounted tickets there, five percent of the price goes to a charity of your
choice. Consider visiting all of these sites and shopping around for the best
Rush the theater or play
tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway shows can sell for as little as $25
apiece. Go to the theater’s box office as soon as it opens on the day of the
performance to check. If you don’t mind being on your feet, you can also try
for standing-room tickets. In many cases, including at some of Broadway’s
biggest smashes such as Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen and Come From
Away, a handful of day-of-show tickets are distributed by lottery, with
names drawn at the box office a few hours before curtain time. Hamilton has
made the distribution of these tickets an event unto itself with cast members
often entertaining the crowds. Several shows, like Hamilton and Lion
King, conduct these lotteries digitally, either on their own or through
the TodayTix app. To find out which shows offer rush tickets and
lotteries, consult Playbill’s Broadway and off-Broadway guides.
Become a member
For $30, if you’re eligible, you can get an annual membership
to TDF, which lets you use ticket deals days or weeks before the show. TDF
also lets you see off-off-Broadway shows for just $9 through its OffOff@9
program. Most of the city’s major theater companies also offer membership packages.
You pay a fee up front (say, $65) in return for discounted tickets all year.
Plus, you get the chance to buy tickets before they go on sale to the general
public, which can be a big deal when it comes to shows with a lot of advance
buzz. And membership often has other privileges as well, like the 20 percent
food-and-drink discount you get at Joe’s Pub when you belong to
the Public Theater. The trick is to pick companies that showcase
consistently strong work, such as Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre
Workshop, Atlantic Theater Company, or Ars Nova.
Be a millennial!
The city’s biggest nonprofit theaters all have programs aimed at
encouraging younger audiences. Theatergoers ages 18 to 35 can buy tickets to
Roundabout Theatre Company for just $20 to $25 per show by joining its Hiptix
program. If you’re between 21 and 35, you can join Lincoln Center
Theater’s LincTix program, which offers $32 tickets to all
shows. Manhattan Theatre Club’s 30 Under 30 program, as the name suggests,
allows patrons 30 or younger to buy tickets for $30. Other major companies,
such as Playwrights Horizons, also offer programs for young theatergoers.
access to many special discounts to Broadway and off-Broadway productions.
Among the best resources to find them are Tix4Students.com and
StudentRusg.org. Librarians, teachers and students can pick up vouchers for 30
to 50 percent off through the School Theatre Ticket
Program at schooltix.com, and student ages 13 to 18 can buy $5
tickets to many off and off-off-Broadway productions through High 5
Tickets to the Arts.
There’s always lots of great theater on and off Broadway. Hopefully,
these hints will leave money in your pocket for dinner before or a drink
after. And, even if you are not
travelling to New York to catch one of the latest Tony winners, there’s plenty
of great theater right here in the Valley of the Sun.