Posted by Daisy on

A quintessential of any New York trip is a Broadway show, be it play or musical, there’s something for every taste. It’s easy to book tickets for a show before you travel, but sometimes this can be expensive. I’m highlighting the little ways that you can grab cheaper Broadway tickets in New York for a show on the day. Let’s begin!

Choose your show

At any given time on Broadway, there are a great deal of shows playing and it’s hard to know where to begin. Do you see something that’s a little off beat and new, or go for a long running classic like Wicked or Phantom of the Opera? What about the plays? It’s so overwhelming! Consider browsing a list of what’s currently playing on Broadway to filter through what you might fancy. I recommend Playbill, a list can be found here. You’ll find details of the show, the theatre it’s playing at, and a short summary.

 

Alternatively..

As an alternative, you could shortlist a few shows and then make your selection once you’ve arrived. Being a big fan of musical theatre, I had already chosen a few options for what we could see and what would be easy to get tickets to. Choosing a shortlist of shows gives you the option of another if you don’t get your first choice. There are always several good shows playing!

There are several ways to grab tickets whilst you’re in town. Let’s begin!

Ticket Lotteries

Quite a few shows hold ticket lotteries, some in person at the theatre and some online. Let’s begin with the in person lotteries. At shows like Wicked, and Book of Mormon you can show up two and a half hours before the show, matinee or evening, and place your name into a lottery. It’s usually open at 12:30 for a matinee and 5:30 for an evening performance, and drawn respectively at 1pm and 6pm.

If there are a lot of people playing then it can be tough to win a ticket – we tried for Hamilton and got nowhere close to winning. But then, when there are 21 seats available and probably over 700 people putting their names in, the odds are low. If you win you can request one or two tickets, so make sure everyone puts their name in. Alternatively if you’re travelling solo, try to buddy up with someone who only wants one ticket and you both double your chances!

Online lotteries are also becoming popular, with many shows giving you the chance to enter your name online to win tickets. This method seems to be the way to go, with many theatres putting their own digital lotteries into place. This is a much easier way to try for tickets as you can enter several at the same time, and you don’t have to be at the theatre to physically put your name in.

Ticket lotteries are a much cheaper way to see shows, if you get lucky you can see a great show for around $25-$40, which compared to premium seat prices is a huge saving!

General and Student Rush

General and Student Rush tickets are available for a few shows, but it does mean getting up early. Often the theatres will hold back a number of seats for the day’s performance and if you queue in the morning you have the chance of obtaining up to two tickets. Generally box offices open at 10:30, and you’ll do well to be in the line by 9 or 9:30am but for popular shows often people will queue from as early as 6 or 7am!

Student rush works on a similar basis, but you must provide a student card to be eligible for the deal. Most shows these days seem to hold General Rush tickets, allowing anyone to queue. General rush tickets tend to be around the $40 mark, although some are lower, some slightly higher. It’s still way cheaper than pre-booking and the location of seats in the theatre is usually good. A note that some theatre policies are cash only so do be prepared. You don’t want to reach the front of the queue to find out you can’t pay for your tickets!

A more in-depth, full run down of policies for shows currently playing can be found here. Good luck!

TKTS

Another option for tickets is the TKTS booth. There’s a main branch located under the famous red steps in Times Square, where you will find discounted tickets for both plays and musicals. You can also buy full price tickets to the day’s shows and for future performances. Discounted tickets are, however, for that day only. At the South Street Seaport booth you can buy same day tickets to discounted performances as well as discounted tickets for the next day’s matinee. At the Downtown Brooklyn location, you’ll find the same as at the Seaport as well as discounts for Brooklyn events.

TKTS Times Square

TKTS South Street Seaport

TKTS Downtown Brooklyn

  • TKTS Times Square
  • TKTS South Street Seaport
  • TKTS Downtown Brooklyn

Sometimes there can be quite a queue at the Times Square location. If you’re planning to be around either of the other TKTS booths, it’s worth trying to grab tickets there. I used the Times Square booth back in 2014 and managed to get a good orchestra seat for Pippin (which is no longer playing). The discounts and shows on offer do vary from day to day so do check back here. It’s worth noting that the most popular shows do not get discounted and you won’t see them on the board – The Lion King and Hamilton are two that come to mind.

Good Luck!

Whatever you decide to do, good luck in your quest to see a Broadway show! I’ve been lucky enough to see three Broadway shows over my two visits to the city, watching Cabaret at Studio 54, Pippin at the Music Box and on our most recent trip Something Rotten at the St. James. I used different methods for all three shows – prebooking for Cabaret, using TKTS for Pippin and just turning up at the box office on the day for Something Rotten. There’s something for every taste and every budget, don’t be fooled into thinking that Broadway is only for those who can afford the most expensive seats!