Finance Friday: How To Save $ on Show Tickets
I am constantly being asked how I can afford to see Broadway shows so frequently as someone who doesn’t make a huge income.
And the answer is, I can’t.
But I make it a priority because seeing Broadway shows and theatre in general is what inspires me to keep going in this crazy industry.
So I've compiled a list of the best ways to save money on theatre tickets without getting scammed.
TodayTix is an app (and a website) to get discounted show tickets ALL OVER. This app is not limited to NYC, which is awesome.
TodayTix is the best option when planning a trip in advance. It hands down has the most options. The further in advance you purchase tickets, the cheaper the discount. The weekday tickets also tend to be a lot cheaper.
The best thing about TodayTix is you are guaranteed to get tickets to the show you want to see. You select the day, the number of tickets, and the area you want to sit in. And BOOM you're seeing the show you want to see.
I tried TodayTix for the first time relatively recently and it was a little stressful the first time. I purchased Once on This Island tickets and it didn't allow me to see my specific seats. However, I think this was just based on this specific show (and this specific space) because I looked at tickets for another show and I was able to view my purchased seats.
The second stressful part comes to actually getting the tickets. On the day of the show, you meet one of the TodayTix representatives at a determined location outside of the theatre around half hour (30 minutes before the show starts). For chronic over thinkers (i.e. me) this can be very stressful because you start to panic they won't show up or the entire website is a scam.
However, I promise you the entire website is not a scam. I knew this, but still had my moment of anxiety anyways. Once the representative shows up (in a TodayTix red shirt) you go up to them and give them your name and they hand you your tickets. Don't be alarmed if the tickets have another name on them. This is the person who ordered this specific batch of tickets and they are in fact your tickets.
While this may be the most anxiety inducing option for cheaper tickets, it's your best bet in terms of choices & you are guaranteed tickets.
Entering the lottery is typically the cheapest option. However, this does not guarantee you tickets to the show and depending on the show can be extremely difficult to actually win. However, one of the nice things is a lot of theatre's have online lotteries now. You can enter via an app or website and not have to go to the theatre in person.
Most lottery systems you enter either the night before or the day of, but if you are willing to gamble, the price tag will definitely be worth it! Typically they limit you to 2 tickets per person.
The next cheapest option would be rushing. There are typically two options for rushing-general rush or student rush. General rush means anyone can do it and student rush means you have to have a "valid" student ID to participate. Rushing is usually around $30- $40 per ticket and you can typically only get two tickets per person.
The main downside to rushing shows is you have to show up to the theatre before the box office opens to get the tickets. The time you show up depends on how popular the show is because people will literally camp out in the rush lines for the high demand shows. They tend to hold about 40 rush tickets and if you spend all morning out there and end up being person number 21 you spent all morning in line with no success.
I have never done standing room because I'm to lazy to stand for an entire show. But it's an option to consider if you don't mind standing. These tickets can typically purchased at the box office on the day of the show, subject to availability and limit two per person.
TKTS is the safest option, but also the most $. It is also the option I tend to frequent the most. While these tickets are still discounted, they try to sell you the most expensive tickets available (i.e. you’d get orchestra seats for what you would normally pay for the balcony). The way it works is you show up to one of the TKTS locations (Time Square, Seaport, Lincoln) and wait in line. People start lining up around an hour before the booth opens, which is what I recommend doing if you have a specific show in mind. Around 30-45 minutes before the booth opens, the available shows and percentage of discount shows up "on the board".
There is no way of knowing which shows will have seats open (or be “on the board”) until the day of. But there’s tons of shows on the board each day, so if you get up to the counter and they run out of one you can get tickets for another.
Pro tip: Pick the show you want to see and have two-three back up shows BEFORE you get up to the counter. They are efficient at TKTS and are trying to get people through quickly so know what you want and how much you are willing to pay.
There is also a "Plays Only" Line if you are only trying to see a straight play. This line is MUCH shorter so be sure to take advantage of this if you are seeing a straight play.
ALSO if you are there for a vacation (or a few days or just plan on using TKTS multiple times in the same week) there's a fast pass line. Bring your TKTS ticket/ receipt from earlier in the same week to access this line.
Overall, the TKTS people are super helpful and knowledgable. We once tried to get tickets to Aladdin but they were obstructed view! The guy at the booth was like they aren't good and asked what our second choice was and after checking said it was the better option of the two. The people in the red coats managing the lines are usually performers doing their side hustle and typically have seen the shows you are in line for. Be nice to the TKTS employees and they will help you out.
There you have it! If anyone has any questions about getting cheaper tickets (or if I missed something) please let me know!
Happy theatre seeing!
Much love always,