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How To Get Cheap Tickets To Broadway Shows

Updated on September 2, 2009

For many people taking in a Broadway Show is the best part of a trip to New York City. The Theater District in and around Times Square is the center of the performing arts universe. New York has a lot to offer, but many tourists visit here just to see a show or two. In today's economy though Broadway is struggling. Several successful shows have closed due to lack of sales. At least one major show that is in production may never make it to the stage because of funding problems. For patrons of the theater this is not good news. On the other hand, tickets for good seats now go for $121.50 plus tax. So it is understandable why people are going to the theater less often. However, there are many ways to get cheap tickets. In the end this is good for the theaters too because it is better for them to sell cheap tickets than to have empty seats.

Times Square
Times Square


TKTS is a very popular service in New York for discount theater tickets. Each day the individual theaters will release unsold tickets to TKTS. These tickets are made available to the public for a discount of 20-50% off, plus a $4.00 service charge. TKTS only offers tickets for that days performances and the next days matinees. Because availability is based on box office sales, there is no guarantee as to which shows will be available at TKTS. TKTS has three locations. Times Square, South St. Seaport, and in Downtown Brooklyn. Many people are intimidated by the long lines at TKTS in Times Square. It can be a long wait! It is quicker to go to South St. Seaport or Brooklyn. They have access to the same tickets as the Times Square booth. The South St. Seaport booth is located at the corner of Front and John Streets, near the rear of the Resnick/ Prudential Building at 199 Water Street. To get there by subway take the J,M,Z,2,3,4, or 5 train to Fulton Street. Or take the A or C train to Broadway-Nassau. The Brooklyn booth is located in 1 MetroTech Center at the corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue Promenade. To get there by subway take the A, C, or F train to Jay Street-Borough Hall. Or take the M, R, 2, 3, 4, or 5 train to Court Street-Borough Hall. Or theĀ  M or R train to Lawrence Street.

The TKTS Booth in Times Square
The TKTS Booth in Times Square
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera
Inside the Majestic Theater
Inside the Majestic Theater

Cheap Tickets You Can Get at the Box Office

The theater box offices also offer several ways to get cheap tickets.

Standing Room Ticket- This ticket is sold after the show is sold out. These tickets are available on the day of the show only. The ticket holder stands behind the last row of seats. If you are a standing room ticket holder, keep your eyes open for empty seats! After the first act, grab them!

Rush Ticket- These tickets are for a limited number of seats that go on sale the day of the show. They are sold on a first come first served basis. A line usually forms at the box office before it opens at 10:00 am.

Student Rush- This is the same as the general rush ticket except it is only available to students, ID required.

Lottery- This is similar to the rush ticket except it is not on a first come first served basis. When the box office opens, every one in line at that time gets to enter a drawing for a limited number of tickets.

HIPTIX- This is a free membership program available to patrons ages 18-35. HIPTIX members can buy discounted tickets to select shows. Visti for more details.

Individual Box Office Policies

The 39 Steps at the Helen Hayes Theatre 240 West 44th Street- Student Rush: $26.50. Select regular seats are $39.00

9 to 5 at the Marquis Theatre 1535 Broadway- Lottery Rush: $36.50 per ticket. Drawing takes place 90 min before the show.

After Miss Julie at the American Airlines Theatre 227 West 42nd Street-General Rush: $26.50, Student Rush, half price tickets sold 30 min before the show, HIPTIX $21:50

Avenue Q at the John Golden Theatre 252 West 45th Street- Lottery Rush: $21.5, 6 PM for weekday and Saturday evening shows, 12 noon for the Saturday matinee, 12:30 PM for the Sunday matinee, and 5:30 PM for Sunday evening.

Billy Elliott at the Imperial Theatre 249 West 45th Street- Student Rush: $41.50 two hours before the show. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only. Some regular tickets are $ 41.50.

Burn the Floor at the Longacre Theatre 220 West 48th Street- Student Rush: $26.50

Bye Bye Birdie at the Henry Miller's Theatre 124 W. 43rd Street- General Rush: $26.50, Student Rush: half price tickets 30 min before the show, Hiptix: $21.50

Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre 219 West 49th Street- General Rush: $31.50, Standing Room: $26.50

God of Carnage at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre 242 West 45th Street- Standing Room: $26.50 two hours before the show.

Hair at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre 302 West 45th Street- Ticket Lottery: $25 two hours before the show, Standing Room: $25

In the Heights at the Richard Rodgers Theatre 226 West 46th Street- Lottery Rush: $26.50, Standing Room: $21.50, some regular seats are $41.50.

Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theatre 245 West 52nd Street- Mobile Student Lottery: $27 - students may enter via mobile text messaging and email for the chance to purchase a limited number of discount-priced tickets. Only available for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday performances. Entries are accepted via text message (text STUDENT to 38568) or online up to three hours prior to performance. Winners are notified via text message or email 1 hour after close of entry hours, two hours prior to performance, and are given a half-hour window in which to purchase tickets at the box office. Winners must present winning text/email and a valid student ID. Subject to availability. Cash only. Standing Room: $27

Mamma Mia at the Winter Garden Theatre 1634 Broadway- Standing Room: $21.25

Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theatre 214 West 42nd St.- Student Rush: $30

Next to Normal at the Booth Theatre 222 West 45th Street- General Rush: $25, some regular tickets are $36.50.

The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre 247 West 44th Street- Standing Room: $26.25, some regular tickets are also $26.25.

Rock of Ages at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre 256 West 47th Street- Lottery Rush: $26.50.

Shrek at the Broadway Theatre 1681 Broadway- Lottery Rush: $26.50 two hours before the show, Student Rush: $36.50, some regular tickets are $41.50 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

South Pacific at the Vivian Beaumont Theater 150 West 65th Street- Student Rush: $20.00 two hours before the show.

West Side Story at the Palace Theatre 1564 Broadway- Lottery Rush: $26.50 two and a half hours before the show.

Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre 222 West 51st Street- Lottery Rush:$26.50 two hours before the show.

Wishful Drinking at Studio 54 254 West 54th Street- General Rush: $26.50, Student Rush: half price tickets 30 min before the show, Hiptix: $21.50

Another way to get a good deal is to go to the theater about 30 min before the show. There might be someone who was an extra ticket and wants to get rid of it. Beware of ticket scalpers with fake tickets though. Theaters now use bar code scanners to read your ticket. You will not get in if your ticket is fake. I lived in New York for two years and I went to the theater all the time and I never paid full price. To some it might seem like a hassle to get cheap tickets using these suggestions. In my opinion, the spontaneity of getting your tickets the day of the show is exciting. Also spending time in line at the box office or at TKTS with your fellow theater goers is surprisingly enjoyable. I hope these tips are helpful and enjoy the show!

The Lion King
The Lion King


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