How to Avoid Breaking the Bank on Theatre in New York City

30742445There is a common misconception that seeing a play or musical is an expensive outing. While that can be true, there are several ways to alleviate the financial strain of a night at the theatre both here in the Twin Cities and in New York City. For example, rush and lotto tickets generally cost between $15 – $40, and usually offer some of the best seats in the house.

Personally, I have used PlaybillClub.com on several occasions to get discounted tickets. In fact, I used the site to get tickets for opening night of Bullets Over Broadway in 2014. I have also tried my luck at the digital lottos offered by TodayTix for the Off-Broadway production of Threepenny Opera. I didn’t win. But if I did I could have seen the show for a penny a ticket. And even tried my luck at The Book of Mormon lotto in 2011 and won.

In my post on August 11th, I posted about how you can save money on tickets in the Twin Cities. Now I will explain the options you have for saving money on Broadway and Off-Broadway shows in New York City.

BroadwayBox

BroadwayBox is a website which promotes itself has being the one stop site for discount codes on Broadway and Off-Broadway shows as well as NYC attractions. The premise is simple… select one of the shows listed and if a discount code is currently available you can click on a link and purchase tickets at the discounted price. If a show currently doesn’t have a discount available, or if the performance you’d like to attend doesn’t fall under the parameters of the discount you also have the option of buying full priced tickets from the shows’ website.

Broadway Week

Winter is a slow time for Broadway. Especially January. After the holiday crowds have left and before the spring school groups arrive, many Broadway shows participate in Broadway Week. Usually held during the last two weeks of January you can get 2 tickets for the price of 1. That is a steal. Tickets sell out fast. But if you miss the event in January you can always catch the Broadway Week held the last week of September.

Hiptix

Roundabout Theatre Company’s low-price ticket program for theatregoers 18-35 years old. It’s free to join and gets you $20-25 tickets to all Roundabout shows:

  • You have to be 18–35 to join.
  • All tickets are $20–25*. You can purchase 2 tickets for each production with your Hiptix membership and your guest can be any age. Want to go with more friends? You can link your Hiptix accounts together to ensure you sit together.
  • You can buy tickets in advance
  • Hiptix tickets are typically in the mezzanine, but upgrade to Hiptix Gold($75 tax-deductible donation) to get orchestra seats.
  • There is absolutely no obligation to purchase tickets.

Hiptix tickets to Roundabout Underground productions are $20. Hiptix tickets for all Broadway and off-Broadway productions are $25 (includes a $2 facility fee). Hiptix tickets are not subject to additional fees, but all sales are final and there are no refunds or exchanges. The Hiptix offer cannot be combined with any other discounts and is not applicable to previously purchased tickets.

Roundabout Theatre Company operates four theatres; American Airlines Theatre (currently playing On the Twentieth Century), Studio 54 (currently playing Act of God) and the Stephen Sondheim Theatre (currently playing Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) on Broadway and the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre Off-Broadway.

LincTix

The discount ticket program for 21-35 year olds offered by Lincoln Center Theater.

  • Free to join
  • $32 tickets for new LCT and LCT3 productions at the Vivian Beaumont (currently playing The King and I), Mitzi E. Newhouse and Claire Tow Theatres and on Broadway.
  • Receive invites to LincTix nights
  • Purchase tickets in advance – as soon as the show is on sale to the public. A limited number of LincTix are available for every performance.
  • Stays active until December 31st following your 36th

Playbill Club

Playbill offers a free online club where you can purchase discounted tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. You also have the availability to receive discounts to restaurants, hotels and other NYC attractions. All you need to do is sign up for the club by providing your email address and creating a password. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone or in person at the box office with the discount code provided. There are some restrictions on which performances are available to each show or which seating areas are included.

TKTS

Operated by the Theatre Development Fund, TKTS is probably one of the best known options for discounted Broadway shows. You can’t miss the red iconic stairs in the middle of Times Square. But there are also two smaller locations as well: South Street Seaport and Brooklyn, TKTS offers up to 50% off tickets. Ticket availability changes daily and throughout the day. For real time availability information you can check their website or download the TKTS app.

Each of the three locations has slightly different ticket offerings.

Times Square

  • Same-Day Discount Tickets
  • Same-Day Full-Price Tickets to Non-Discounted Shows
  • Full-Price Tickets to Future Performances
  • “Play Express” Window – purchase tickets for plays ONLY

South Street Seaport

  • Same-Day Discount Tickets to Evening Performances
  • Next-Day Discount Tickets for Matinee Performances

Downtown Brooklyn

  • Same-Day Discount Tickets to Evening Performances
  • Next-Day Discount Tickets to Matinee Performances
  • Full Price Tickets to Brooklyn Performing Arts Events

All TKTS locations accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards, as well as cash, and TKTS Gift Certificates. A small number of Off Broadway shows may require cash only. All tickets are subject to a $4.50 per ticket service charge which helps support other TDF services and programs. Additional non-TDF service charges may apply to some tickets.

FAST PASS:  TKTS 7-Day Fast Pass allows TKTS patrons to return to the Times Square ticket booth within 7 days of their TKTS purchase and walk up to window #1 with their TKTS ticket stub, thereby avoiding the longer lines at peak hours!

TodayTix

The first and only free mobile app for iOS and Android that provides access to last-minute theatre tickets, booked same-day or up to a week in advance. TodayTix claims to offer the best discounted and full price tickets available for up to 40 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. In addition to offering discounted and full price tickets for shows, TodayTix also partners with shows to offer app exclusive ticket lotteries. This means no more sitting outside the theatre for hours hopping to win tickets. TodayTix was called the “Uber of Broadway” by Forbes Magazine in May 2015 for its ability to engage and attract a younger audience to Broadway shows. And like Uber, Today Tix allows you to share a code with friends and family on social media for them to save money and for you to earn credits to your account for referring them to the app.

Rush and Lotto Tickets

Most shows offer some form of a rush or lotto. Some offer both including the option to buy standing room only tickets when the show is completely sold out. In some cases trying your luck for Rush and Lotto tickets just isn’t an attempt to save some money, but also the only way to try and get your hands on tickets to an extremely popular show, like Hamilton for example. With technology everywhere some shows have moved to digital or online lottos which eliminate the need for you to spend hours waiting in line in the theatre in hopes of having your name selected.

The list below was compiled by Joey Sims and Matthew Blank on Playbill’s website. This is the listing of current Broadway Rush, Lotto and Standing Room Only policies as of August 13th, 2015. Playbill’s website also includes a listing of Off-Broadway Rush and Inexpensive Tickets listing by Joey Sims, Jennifer Nason-Brown and David Gewirtzman.

Aladdin
Lottery Rush: $30 – a limited number of tickets via lottery at the box office at 214 W. 42nd Street. Beginning two-and-a-half hours before the performance, theatregoers are invited to enter the lottery, and winners will be drawn two hours before each performance. Winners may purchase up to two $30 tickets with cash only to that day’s performance. Locations will be at the theatre’s discretion, and lottery may not be offered at all performances.

Amazing Grace
General Rush: $30 – a limited number of tickets are available for purchase at the box office at opening each day. Cash only. Limit 2 per person.

An American in Paris
General Rush: $32 – a limited number of tickets are available for purchase at the box office at opening each day. Cash only. Limit 2 per person.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
General Rush: $40 – A number of $40 tickets will be made available for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening performances for purchase day-of at the box office of the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Tickets are subject to availability, and patrons are limited to two rush tickets per person.

The Book of Mormon
Lottery Rush: $32 – a limited number of tickets for each performance will be sold through the lottery. Entries will be accepted at the box office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $32 each. Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets may be purchased in cash or with a valid credit card. Tickets are subject to availability.

Standing Room: $27 – available at the box office directly after the lottery.

Chicago 
General Rush: $37 – tickets available at the box office only, when the box office opens. Limit 2 per customer. Not available for Saturday evenings. Subject to availability.

Standing Room: $27 – available at the box office, day of performance, only when the performance is sold out.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
General Rush: $37 – a limited number of general rush tickets are available at the box office on the day of the performance at $37 each (price includes a $2 facility fee). Limit of two tickets per person. Subject to availability.

Last Row Mezzanine: $27 – all seats in rows F-G of the rear mezzanine are priced at $27 for all performances. These tickets may be purchased through Telecharge.com or at the box office.

Finding Neverland
General Rush: $37 – a limited number of rush tickets are available for purchase in-person at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre box office beginning at 10am (12pm on Sundays) for that day’s performance(s) only. Maximum one ticket per person, cash only. Rush tickets are subject to availability and may not be offered at all performances. Rush seating locations will be determined at the discretion of the box office.

Fish in the Dark
General Rush: $35 – available when the box office opens. Limit of 2 tickets per person, while seats are available.

Fun Home
Digital Lottery: $32 – the show has partnered with TodayTix to allow its members to enter a mobile lottery via the TodayTix app, available in the App Store or Google Play Store. The entry period will begin each day at midnight, and continue until winners are notified via push notification 3-4 hours before the selected performance begins. Winners will be offered the opportunity to purchase either one or two $32 tickets, and can pick up them up from the box office of the Circle in the Square Theatre. Seat locations are subject to availability.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Online Lottery: $42 – A limited number of tickets per performance will be sold to winners of a digital lottery drawing. Entries will be accepted online beginning at the curtain time of the previous performance and close three and a half hours before curtain of the desired performance. Limit of one entry per person and two tickets per winner.

Youth Rush: $42 – A limited number of tickets will be made available for each performance for patrons aged 35 and under. These tickets must be purchased day-of, in-person at the box office and are subject to availability. Valid photo I.D. will be required, and patrons are limited to two rush tickets per performance.

Hamilton
Lottery Rush: $10 – Starting two-and-a-half hours hours before every performance, submit your name outside the theater for a chance to win up to two tickets. Names are drawn two hours before showtime. Tickets are $10, cash only.

Standing Room: $40 – following the regular ticket lottery, a limited number of standing room tickets are distributed, also by lottery. Standing room tickets are $40, cash or card. Standing room may not be available at every performance.

Hand to God
General Rush: $27 – A limited number of general rush tickets will be available when the box office opens on the day of the performance. Seats may be partial view and are subject to availability. Limit 2 per person. Cash or credit card accepted.

Standing Room: $27 – Available on the day of the performance when the box office opens. Standing-room tickets are only available when the performance is sold out. There is a limit of 2 per tickets per person. Cash or credit card accepted.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Lottery Rush: $37 – A minimum of 20 tickets will be sold via lottery for each performance. Beginning two-and-a-half hours before every performance, patrons are invited to enter the lottery at the Belasco Theatre (111 West 44th Street). Winners will be drawn two hours before each performance. Each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Entries will be collected and names will be drawn at random. Winners will then be able to purchase tickets at $37 each. All cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Tickets may be purchased in cash or with a valid credit card. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Subject to availability. Seat locations may be partial view.

Standing Room: $29 – standing room tickets will be available for purchase at the Belasco Theatre box office beginning 45 minutes prior to curtain on the day of the performance only, but only if the performance is otherwise sold out. Limit 2 tickets per person.

Jersey Boys 
Student Rush: $27 – a limited number of student tickets available at the box office on the day of the performance beginning at 10 AM. Two kinds of photo ID must be shown: a non-expired full time student ID, as well as a government issued photo ID, drivers license or passport. Limit 2 tickets per person per 30 day period. Tickets are subject to availability and may not be offered at all performances. Locations may be partial view. Cash only.

The King and I
Student Rush: $32 – each day, LCT offers $32 student rush tickets beginning two hours before a performance at the Box Office (subject to availability). Student rush tickets are limited to one ticket per performance and you must show a valid college/university ID to purchase a ticket. Please Note: not all performances have student rush tickets.

LincTix: $32 – LCT’s program for patrons aged 21-35 is free to join and gives access to $32 tickets for each new LCT production. LincTix allows you to purchase tickets in advance as soon as the show is on sale to the public. A limited number of LincTix are available for EVERY performance. For more information and to register, visit http://www.lct.org/linctix.

Kinky Boots
Online Lottery: $37 – entries will be accepted online beginning at the curtain time of the previous performance and close three and a half hours before curtain of the desired performance. Limit of one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Lottery tickets are priced at $37 each and are subject to seating availability.

Standing Room: $27 – a limited number of standing-room tickets may be available in person at the box office on the day of the performance, if the performance is sold out.

Les Misérables
General Rush: $37 – a limited number of rush tickets are available beginning 10 AM daily (and noon on Sundays) at the Imperial Theatre box office only (249 West 45th Street). Limit of two tickets per customer, and subject to availability. Cash or card.

Mamma Mia! 
Rush Seats: $32 (incl $2.00 fac fee) may be available on the day of the performance when the box office opens. Subject to availability. May not be offered for all performances. Limit is 2 tickets per customer.

Standing Room: $32 (incl $2.00 fac fee) available at the box office only on the day of the performance if the performance is sold out. Goes on sale two hours prior to curtain. Limit is 2 per customer.

Matilda
Lottery Rush: $27 – a minimum of 20 tickets will be sold via lottery for each performance. Beginning two-and-a-half hours before every performance, patrons are invited to enter the lottery; winners will then be drawn two hours before each performance. Each person will print their name and the number of tickets (a two ticket limit) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Entries will be collected and names will be drawn at random. Winners will then be able to purchase tickets at $27 each. (Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing.) Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Do appreciate that lottery tickets are absolutely non-transferable: the person entering the lottery must also be the person attending the show. Tickets are subject to availability. Depending on the performance, some seat locations may be partial view. Note that there is limit of two lottery tickets per winner within a 30-day period.

Standing Room: $27 – Available on the day of the performance when the box office opens. Only available when the performance is sold out. Limit 2 tickets per person.

The Phantom of the Opera 
Standing Room: $27 – available at the box office, only when the performance is sold out. They are sold in advance or same day, if available. There are only 28 standing room positions.

Tickets in the last two rows of the Rear Mezzanine on the sides are priced at $27 for Monday through Thursday performances. These tickets may be purchased through Telecharge.com or at the box office.

Something Rotten!
Online Lottery: $35 – a limited number of tickets, including front row, per performance will be sold to winners of a digital lottery drawing. Tickets are limited to two per person. For details and to enter the digital lottery, visit lottery.rottenbroadway.com. Entrants will be notified of their status two-and-a-half hours prior to show time. Tickets must be claimed and paid for at the St. James Theatre box office no later than 30 minutes prior to the performance.

General rush: $35 – tickets will be available for purchase at the St. James Theatre when the box office opens. Tickets are limited to two per person, and subject to availability for that day’s performances.

Wicked
Lottery Rush: $30 – a limited number of select orchestra seats available for each performance via a lottery drawing held two hours before curtain. Entries are accepted starting two and a half hours prior to each performance (or 30 minutes before the drawing itself). Limit one entry per person, and two tickets per winner. Winners must be present at time of drawing and valid identification must be shown to purchase tickets.

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