Sunday, June 17, 2007

Procuring Cheap Tickets for Broadway

Summer is here! And many of us will be venturing to The Big Apple to enjoy the New York theater scene. Unfortunately, over the years the cost for a ticket to Broadway or Off-Broadway has soared, making a trip to the theater a very expensive proposition. There are, however, a number of simple methods to obtain cheaper tickets—without having to settle for the nosebleed section. They can be broken down into Day of Show discounts and Advance Sale tickets.


TKTS Discount Booth -- Two locations, one downtown at the South Street Seaport, with the primary location in Times Square. The Times Square site, normally located in the middle of Broadway at 47th Street (Duffy Square), has been relocated to the Marriott Marquis Hotel at Broadway at 46th Street while a new structure is built at the Duffy Square location.

Patrons can line up to buy tickets for same day performances at up to 50% off (along with a $4.00 surcharge per ticket). The Booth opens at 3:00 p.m. for evening shows (earlier at the Seaport) and 10:00 a.m. for matinee performances. The lines start forming early. Be there at least one-half hour ahead of the opening. [PLEASE NOTE--With the newly reopened booth in Times Square you can now use Credit Cards along with Cash and Traveler's checks]

The TKTS Discount Booth usually has a wide selection of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, with the best availability being Tuesday-Thursday nights. The list of shows change constantly and are posted at the front of the Booth so you can review the selections before getting in line. Have two or three shows in mind in case your first hope is sold-out or has lousy seats. Don’t expect the sold-out shows to be listed or being able to choose your seat location. You take what is available. Also, don’t be afraid of the sometimes long lines. They move fast and you meet the most interesting people—from all over the world!

Rush and Standing Room Only Tickets -- has a great overview of Rush and Standing Room Only (SRO) policies on their website. Basically, both are sold on the day of performance, have a very limited quantity, and are subject to availability. Rush tickets are usually sold when a box office first opens for the day. SRO are designated spots—where one stands—in the back of the orchestra. Slots are limited and are normally available only if a show is sold-out. Many productions cater their Rush and SRO tickets to students with a valid ID. -- see below

School Discount Coupons -- see below

ADVANCE DISCOUNT TICKETS -- Great site. Lists discount codes for many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows (again, not the sold-out ones) that can be used to purchase tickets in advance, either over the phone or in person at the box office. At their website, click on the show of your choice. The listed information gives you the discount code (for example, CHBBX93), what the particular discount is (for example $66.25 instead of $111.25) the expiration of the discount, and how to order tickets (there will be a surcharge per ticket if ordered over the phone). The beauty of, besides the price and ease, is you can choose your seat location (depending on availability). You can also print out the page with the discount code and bring it to the box office ahead of time or for the day of performance.

School Discount Coupons -- You’ve seen these rectangularly colored slips of paper in schools, community centers, and elsewhere. The discount price is emblazoned on the front of the coupon along with instructions on how to redeem them. You can procure tickets by either mailing in the coupon, along with your money and preferred attendance dates; bringing the coupon to the box office—in advance or day of—or via their website (again, a per ticket surcharge is affixed). A listing of all their available shows is online, but you cannot printout the coupons online. You have to track them down on your own.


If buying tickets in advance, over the phone, compare the discount from and the School Discount Coupons program for the best rate (each has about the same rather high per ticket surcharge). has a slight edge since when ordering by phone you speak to a real live person about seat locaton. The School Discount Coupons system is automated and you get what the computer gives you.

For day of tickets, compare all the discount, School Discount Coupons, and the TKTS Discount Booth--to see which offers the best deal (Rush and SRO will almost always have the most inexpensive rate, but not the best seat location or availability). Depending on the discount, going to the box office with the printout or the School Discount Coupon is preferable since you:

  • do not pay any per ticket surcharge
  • do not need to stand in a possibly long line
  • can choose your seat location

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