Fall is the time for cooler weather, pumpkin spice coffees, and brand new shows to hit Broadway. Between Death of a Salesman, Almost Famous, and Some Like It Hot, New York City’s Theatre District has plenty of cool new shows you’ll want to check out this season.
And you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to see a show either. There are tons of ways to score discounts on tickets. In fact, with producers going the extra mile to bring audience numbers back up, there are more ways to get discount tickets than ever — even for really popular shows.
We’ve compiled a helpful list to make it even easier to score deals on the best tickets:
The TKTS Booth in Times Square
Located at 47th Street and Broadway, the TKTS Booth offers deep discounts on same-day tickets to musicals, plays, and dance events. Like a lot of cheap ticket options, this one came into being because it’s impossible to predict demand for a show. Rather than be left with a surplus of unsold seats, producers prefer to sell them to you on the day of the show, for less.
Enter the TKTS Booth, which keeps unsold tickets from going to waste and helps sustain the whole Broadway ecosystem! You have two basic options: you can get there early to beat the long time, or show up closer to showtime, when theaters sometimes make a late-in-the-game decision to release blocks of really prime seats.
The Times Square location has been so popular over the years that the Theatre Development Fund, which runs TKTS, recently added a second TKTS Booth at Lincoln Center, which should be reopening soon. Lines can be shorter at that location. There is also a TKTS App.
Want to see a popular show for only $25-$40? Don’t mind standing around? Then Rush tickets might be your best option.
Theaters have a limited number of Rush tickets. These are sold day of show, starting when the box office opens, on a first-come, first-served basis. Some special categories of these discounted tickets exist, like Student Rush (you’ll need a student ID) and Senior Rush (you’ll need to be over 65 years old).
The upside of Rush tickets is simple: they are deeply discounted! Depending on the price of the show (which can be hundreds of dollars), the discounts range from 20%-30% to 80% or more.
Getting these tickets involves heading to the box office of the show you want to see, and then… waiting. For popular shows, you may find lines already forming by early morning, hours before the box office opens. And at some theaters, tickets designated Rush are usually seats with an obstructed view.
Standing Room Only
Some theaters offer Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets that you can snag the day of the show. The downside: Standing room means you will be standing for the duration of the show! The upsides: You’ll likely spend less than thirty bucks. And standing room is usually just behind the orchestra, so you’ll have a great view. If they were seats, SRO tickets would be great seats!
Many theaters start selling SRO tickets a mere few hours before showtime. Start by calling the box office of the show you want to see. Ask if they offer SRO tickets, and how you can get them.
It’s the digital age, so naturally there are lots of new options for finding discounts online. Many of these take the form of apps you can download to your phone, allowing you to plan your Broadway night on the fly.
TodayTix lets you browse theaters and showtimes, then try for Rush tickets from your phone. The app’s creators – former Broadway producers –have partnerships with over 1,300 theaters in big cities worldwide, including lots of the best ones in New York.
Similar apps include BroadwayADay, Broadway.com, BroadwayBox, and the official TKTS app.
Some popular or long-running shows get their own app. For example, you can download the official Hamilton app for original content, updates about the show, a shop with official merch, and more. And, yes, the Hamilton app makes it easy for you to enter the lottery every day for $10 Hamilton tickets. More about ticket lotteries below!
If you’re staying near the theater, or you never know what you feel like doing until the last minute, this option can be a good one. Sometimes tickets become available at the very last minute due to audience cancellations. These will be released by the theater just before showtime. It’s kind of the Hail Mary Pass of cheap tickets, but it might be worth a try!
Lots of shows offer digital or in-person lotteries where you can win discounted tickets. Sometimes the deals are a significant savings. Hamilton currently has a lottery for $10 tickets! Broadway for Broke People is a handy site for keeping up with shows that are offering lotteries or other deals.
Memberships That Offer Discounts
The Theater Development Fund offers a $40 membership that grants you access to vast numbers of discounted tickets. If you’re generally a Broadway fan and would love to see several shows a year, this could end up saving you tons of money – the ticket discounts are up to 70%.
There are other theaters that offer membership programs, like The Roundabout Theatre, The Vineyard Theatre, and many more. Memberships help venues stay open, since it’s income they can count on even when ticket sales are unpredictable. So if you notice over time that a particular theater offers programs that match your taste, why not become a member? You’re supporting the arts and saving money at the same time!