By Marlene Garzona
Whether you’re visiting New York City for the first time or you’re right across the Hudson River like I am, the wonder of seeing a Broadway show never gets old. With everything from the whimsical world of Mary Poppins to the spellbinding narrative that is Wicked to the sultry classic known as Chicago there’s something to please everyone. Although good entertainment is rarely cheap in the city that never sleeps; there are many ways to save on tickets so one doesn’t leave the theater with an empty wallet.
TKTS Booths have been a prime destination to get discounted tickets since the 1970s. If you’ve been by the red steps in Times Square between 47th and Broadway chances are you’ve seen the lines for this TKTS location.Though I know from experience they tend to be shorter at the South Seaport Booth located at 199 Water Street and the downtown Brooklyn Booth in 1 MetroTech Center. Regardless line or not, it’s worth the wait as all the booths sell same day tickets usually 25-50% off full price. While next day matinee performances can be bought in the latter two as well. The Broadway shows available change day to day and even hour to hour as tickets are released. So you’re bound to find something interesting to watch no matter when or where you go. Though if you’re feeling a little less adventurous there’s an iPhone app you can download that provides real time updates on ticket availability.
The lottery system is a little known secret offered by various shows including Wicked. I myself didn’t learn about it until I found out from two separate friends that they had won tickets. Let me explain, they didn’t win free tickets, rather they won the opportunity to buy front row center tickets for a mere $25 each. Lotteries are held at the box office (be sure to call ahead to confirm) about 2.5 hours before curtain or 30 minutes before the actual drawing with exact ticket quantities varying daily. The rules are simple: an individual cannot enter more than once, they must be present when called with proper identification, and tickets usually provided in pairs must be paid in cash. The crowds that gather can be overwhelming at times, but a little luck can go a long way especially on midweek days or in bad weather when it tends to be quieter.
Rush/Standing Room Only
Rush and Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets are available to most shows. All current Broadway shows offer one and or both options except for Wicked. Rush tickets are first came first serve discounted tickets that go for around $30. They can be brought the day of when the box office opens. Though some are limited to students and require valid identification. SRO tickets are also available at the box office on the day of but they are only sold when the show is SOLD OUT. Bought for $25 or less they can prove quite cost effective bearing you don’t mind being on your feet.
Groupons are exactly what they sound like: coupons for groups. This popular website and widely capable smartphone app is a deal of the day service. It features all sorts of purchasable offers to local restaurants, attractions, and yes even Broadway shows! While deals are typically random it is worth checking every so often as when they do appear tickets can be obtained at unbeatable prices anywhere from 50-85% off. Last month, a partnership was announced between Groupon and Broadway Inbound the ticketing platform used for all major Broadway events, so something tells me special ticket prices for subscribers is about to become a lot more common. Also did I mention subscribing was for free?
The best thing you can do is keep your eyes and ears open for promotional offers! You’ll be surprised what you can find in newsletters, hear over the radio or even by word of mouth, and even sometimes receive in your favorite magazine.
Where there’s a will there’s a deal to be found.