If you could not tell from my about page – I LOVE Broadway! The music, the acting, the costumes, it is simply amazing. But it can be downright expensive. That is where I come in and save you from hours of Google searching, to give you a list of tips and links on how to buy a pair of tickets without breaking the bank.
This option allows you to see a large amount of shows for free or at a highly discounted flat rate. I personally use HipTix Gold and Student Rush. The HipTix Gold membership ($75/year) lets you see any of the amazing productions from the Roundabout Theatre for $25/per ticket, with a limit of 2. Student Rush used to be completely free (membership wise), where you would only need to pay for the tickets, which ranged from $5-$20. Now you have to pay a membership fee of $19.95 and pay $5/per ticket (processing fee). The selection of shows vary from day to day and tend to be off Broadway productions but if lady luck is on your side, there may be a Broadway show up for grabs.
Rush (Same day tickets only)
This option is difficult for the 9 to 5ers (at least for weekdays) because it requires you to stand in line outside the box office of the theater and pray you just make the cut to be able to purchase tickets. This is a cash only option with usually a 2 ticket limit per person. General rule of thumb, it is good to get there at least 2 hours before the box office opens but maybe even earlier if the show is a truly popular one. There are also student rushes, exclusive to high school and university/college students, who need to show a valid student ID to purchase. The show’s official website will tell you if they offer rush or not.
Standing Room (Same day tickets only)
Usually if the show is sold out, there is a limited number of standing room tickets to purchase. You are essentially paying to watch the show standing up. I personally have never done this, but if there’s a show you really want to go see and you’re willing to stand for 2 hours, go for it! You can purchase them at the box office of the show you wish to see.
Sort of speaks for itself, you put your name in and pray to God that your name is picked. Applies to same day shows, unless stated otherwise.
In Person (cash only)
You arrive to the theater at the specified time (it is located on the show’s website) and you will be given a paper to fill out or verbally give your name to be added to the list, along with the other hundred or so hopefuls. An hour or two later, the drawing begins and you must be present when your name is said. Pay the discount price for your choice of one or two tickets (cash only) and you are the blessed owner of tonight’s show.
More and more Broadway shows are embracing this method, in which you enter your name and email (some may ask for more information) and at a specified time the names are drawn. You receive an email of congratulations or try again. Some shows do it on their official website and others do it through Broadway direct. Each show has their own lottery rules, so be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Also, with Broadway direct, if you enter to all you cannot win all, i.e. you enter for Wicked and Lion King, if you win Wicked you’re taken out of the Lion King drawing.
To watch the most sought out tickets on Broadway (HAMILTON) you will have to either shell out $500+ per ticket on the resale market, or have your try with the online lottery. You can enter everyday except for Mondays (they’re closed) and Wednesday matinees (in person lottery).
Playbill is a great resource to refer to regarding how to get rush, lottery and standing room tickets for all currently running Broadway shows. They update their list pretty frequently.
Third Party Websites
These are companies who purchase tickets in bulk and offer you somewhat cheaper prices. Only downside is that you usually do not have a choice in what seat you receive (sucks) but the upside is that you know what section you will be seated in i.e. orchestra, mezzanine, balcony, etc. My personal go to is LivingSocial. Great customer service and I have been using them since my college broke days. I also use Working Advantage and PlumBenefits, an employer based site, which offers discounts to more than just Broadway shows. You should definitely find out if your employer or university/college participates in these programs.
Broadway & Off Broadway Week
Happens twice a year, during the winter and during the fall. I love this because the tickets are buy 2 tickets for the price of 1 ticket. This is the perfect time to buy tickets for the super expensive shows. But be sure to subscribe to their email list so you can be notified when exactly tickets are sold because the most popular shows sell out FAST!
It is a free rewards program where every time you purchase a pair of tickets you earn points. Those points can then be redeemed for tickets. I make sure to check that the site I’m buying my tickets from give me the option to put my audience rewards ID number so I can keep accumulating points.
Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe! To all theater related websites and to the official show’s websites. This is the easiest way to stay informed on any updates that may arise, whether it be regarding prices or discounts.
I hope all of this was useful for you, and if you are as passionate as I am, you probably knew half. If you know of an option that I have not listed here, feel free to comment below and I’ll update it to the list with your contribution and your much-deserved credit. Good luck on your pursuit for reasonably priced tickets!
What Broadway or off Broadway show (they need love too) have you seen last? What show do you want to see next?