Psst!...Broadway Tickets for Cheap!
Avoid the mile-long lines at the Times Square TKTS booth by buying discounted Broadway tickets using one of these eight approaches.
Crack the codes
When you're buying tickets online, the major agencies—Telecharge and Ticketmaster—ask for a promotional code, which can shave between 25 and 50 percent off the face-value price. BroadwayBox.com allows you to check out their codes without coughing up any cash or personal information. You can find one of these codes by visiting Playbill, TheaterMania, BroadwayBox.com, and New York Show Tickets. These sites list promotional codes for many shows, including blockbuster productions like Hairspray. These sites offer a comparable list of promotional codes for many shows, including blockbuster productions like Hairspray. Playbill and TheaterMania require you to register before viewing their free listings, but New York Show Tickets charges a $4 fee to access most of their ticket codes for major Broadway shows for 30 days. BroadwayBox.com posts a more limited number of codes, but you won't have to cough up any personal information. UPDATE: This article was altered on May 15, 2008, to include a mention of New York Show Tickets (above).
Insider's tip: If you buy directly from a theater box office, where you can also use a code for savings, you will avoid the fees that Telecharge and Ticketmaster slap on the tickets they sell online.
Try a ticket broker
If you're gunning for one of Broadway's most popular shows, such as Grease or Spring Awakening, you're going to struggle to find discounted tickets from any source. Your best hope is to look for tickets during Broadway's slow months: January, February, September, and October. You'll most likely find these tickets being resold by respected online ticket brokers, such as StubHub and TicketsNow—often, though not always, at a discount to their face values.
Buck the system at the 11th hour
General rush tickets and ticket lotteries are available to anyone looking to try his or her last-minute luck. Some productions, including The Color Purple and Chicago, sell a select number of discounted tickets, called rush tickets, at the box office on the day of the show. Others, such as Wicked and Avenue Q, hold lotteries in which people go to the theater a few hours before a show and enter their names in a drawing. Rush and lottery tickets usually cost between $20 and $30. Go to talkinbroadway.com or playbill.com for details on the rush and lottery practices of the top productions.
Two popular musicals offer onstage seating at a fraction of the standard prices. Spring Awakening sells 26 onstage seats at every performance for $31.50 a pop (which is far less than the typical $70 a seat); Xanadu sells 22 onstage seats for every performance at $41.50 apiece. These seats tend to have rear or side views that obscure some of the action, but they still sell out quickly because viewers get to sit so close. It's best to book Spring Awakening onstage seats about four months in advance; Xanadu onstage seats require a lead time of a week or two. Onstage seating is available at the box offices as well as through Telecharge.
Tote the tots
Kids have some clout when it comes to ticket discounts. The Roundabout Theatre Company sells tickets for children under the age of 17 at half the price it charges adults. For example, in February a child's ticket costs only $25 for Sunday in the Park with George—while an adult ticket is $50 (for a rear mezzanine seat in each case).
Every winter, The Broadway League holds Kids' Night on Broadway. In 2008, anyone between the ages of 6 and 18 can see a Broadway show for free, when accompanied by a full-paying adult, on February 5, 6, 12, and 13. See details at kidsnightonbroadway.com.
Take a stand
For theatergoers feeling light on their feet, sold-out shows can be a good thing. Many productions—even hot shows like Jersey Boys and Spamalot—offer standing room only (SRO) admission when no audience seats are left. Like rush tickets, most SRO tickets fall in the $20 to $30 range and can be purchased at the box office on the day of the show. Find out which productions offer SRO by visiting talkinbroadway.com and playbill.com.