Hooray! You’re a big theatre nerd and you’ve just arrived in NYC! There’s a million and one things to do in this happening place, but let’s face it, you’re gonna want to see some shows. Not only is going to the theatre an amazing and inspiring way to spend an afternoon or evening, but it’s also an essential part of honing your craft!
The only hitch? Ticket prices are so INSANE, it’s enough to give you nightmares!
Well, never fear, my friends, because I’m here to give you the down low on the best ways to score discounted tickets. If you want to learn more about what resources are available to you and how to best take advantage of them, read on!
1) TODAY TIX: Today Tix is a discount ticketing service that anyone can access by website (todaytix.com) or by downloading the Today Tix app on your smartphone. Today Tix has discounts for TONS of shows: Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway. Prices tend to vary by show and by performance day, but you have the option to buy your tickets WAY in advance, rather than just the day of. So plan ahead, and you can score a great deal!
Please note that TODAY TIX allows you to choose seats in a section of the theatre (Orchestra, Mezz, etc), but does not allow you to choose specific seats. All tickets in the same order will be seated together. Contact Today Tix in advance for information about Accessible seating.
2) THEATRE DEVELOPMENT FUND (TDF): The Theatre Development Fund is a Not-For-Profit Organization for the Performing Arts which works to make theatre affordable and accessible to all. What exactly does that mean? Well, according to TDF, it means that every time you purchase a ticket, “you are supporting a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to sustaining and sharing the arts and developing the audiences of the future.” Pretty awesome, right? You can get discounted tickets through TDF in two ways: TKTS Discount Booths or a TDF Membership.
TKTS Discount Booths: TDF runs 3 TKTS booths with discounted tickets at 20%-50% off regular prices. The Times Square TKTS booth (underneath the famous Red Steps!) offers Same-Day Discount tickets, while the Lincoln Center and South Street Seaport TKTS booths offer Same-Day Discount tickets and Next-Day Discount tickets for Matinee performances only.
It’s important to know that ticket availability is never guaranteed. Best to get to a TKTS booth first thing in the morning, or browse the real-time listings available on the tdf.org website or the TKTS app.
TDF Membership: $11-$49 tickets for many Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway shows are available to TDF Members ONLY with an annual membership fee of only $40 (the savings quickly pay for your membership). Not everyone is eligible for a TDF Membership, but full-time students absolutely are! As an added bonus, members can purchase additional tickets for guests - I’m looking at you, parents! For more information on TDF Membership Eligibility, head here.
Please note that TDF Members are not able to select their own seats, and seats can be anywhere in the theater (In my experience, the box offices have been kind about providing the best empty seats available). Accessible seating is available by contacting TDF directly.
3) STUDENT DISCOUNTS: Some of the best theatre in NYC is produced by independent companies, and most of these companies offer great discount deals to young members and students. Below are a few of the more popular discount programs. If you don’t see a specific company listed here, you can always check with the box office directly!
HIP TIX: Hiptix is Roundabout’s discounted ticket program for patrons ages 18-35. You can get 2 $25 tickets to all Roundabout shows, and it’s free to join! Register here: https://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/HipTix.aspx
PLAYWRIGHT’S HORIZONS: Playwright’s Horizons offers both a Student Membership (full time enrollment at a high school or college/university with valid ID) and a Young Membership (35 and under). Both memberships are free to join. Student Memberships provide 2 discount tickets (1 for you, and 1 for a guest) to each production in the season for only $15 per ticket. Young Memberships provide the same benefits for $25 per ticket. Register here: https://www.playwrightshorizons.org/tickets-packages/discount-memberships/
SIGNATURE: Signature Theatre offers $25 tickets to every performance for full-time students. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or ahead of time using the code STU25. A valid ID must be presented at will call. One ticket per each valid ID.
NEW DEAL: Theatre for a New Audience (in Brooklyn) offers discounted tickets through their New Deal program. Patrons 30 and under and full-time students (of any age) may purchase $20 tickets for all available performances. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or at the box office, in advance or day-of. Valid ID required.
LINC TIX: LincTix through Lincoln Center allows registered patrons between the ages of 21-35 to purchase 1 discounted ticket per production (typically $32). Patrons must register online at lct.org - registration is free!
30 UNDER 35: Manhattan Theatre Club offers $30 tickets to registered members of their 30 Under 35 program. Members can purchase up to 2 tickets for any MTC show, and registration is free! Join here: https://www.manhattantheatreclub.com/season-tickets/30-under-35/
4) GENERAL RUSH: If you’re willing to wake up early and stand in line, many shows (like The Band's Visit and The Prom) offer a limited number of discounted “General Rush” seats for that day’s performances. These tickets are available as soon as the box office opens and are first come, first-served, so you want to be near the front of the line! Depending on a show’s popularity, lines may begin forming as early as 6AM, 3AM, or even the night before. Rush lines are likely to be less busy during the week than on the weekends. A good tip for Rushing is to search the Chat Boards on broadwayworld.com for Rush threads. Rush threads are show specific and individuals will often leave notes about when they rushed and how busy it was.
Please note that some shows that sell General Rush tickets, also have ticket Lotteries!
5) LOTTERIES: Many shows (like Hamilton, Wicked, and Frozen) have now moved to selling discounted tickets via a Lottery system. The rules for each Lottery (pricing, number of tickets, when you can enter, when you hear back, etc) vary from show to show and can change at any time, so it’s best to research them individually. There are two types of Lottery systems:
In-Person Lottery: In-Person Lotteries require that patrons be present at the theater in order to enter. Typically, patrons can purchase up to 2 tickets if their name is drawn. Most Lotteries start accepting entries a few hours before the performance, and the drawing usually takes place about an hour before. You must be present at the drawing in order to claim your tickets!
If you’re not an early riser, you’re in luck! Some shows also offer Online Lotteries…
Online Lotteries are just like In-Person lotteries, but you can enter them from the comfort of your own home! Online Lotteries make their own rules and every system is very different. Some Lotteries can be found on broadwaydirect.com. Others have their own sites. Definitely research each show individually.
Please note that some Lotteries are CASH ONLY! Check before you go!
6) STANDING ROOM: Some shows (like Come From Away and Book of Mormon) sell Day-Of Standing Room tickets. These tickets are also deeply discounted, but are usually “subject to availability” or only available if the performance is sold out. Be sure to check in with each show’s box office directly!
THAT’S A WRAP!
So what have we learned?! NYC is a theatre mecca, and you don’t have to miss out because of high ticket prices! There are a TON of great options for discounted tickets, and you can reap the benefits of them all!
*** For a detailed and updated listing of each show’s discount policies, head here.
Know another great tip for scoring discounted seats? We wanna hear it! Comment below and spread the wealth!
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