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This post is about the many ways you can get discount Broadway tickets, including through the TKTS booths, ticket lotteries, and a couple of other options.
You don’t need to be in NYC to get good prices on Broadway tickets.
Getting tickets in advance, on websites such as TodayTix, as opposed to spending time in NYC on special ticket lines, gives you more time to do other things in the city.
The pros of getting discounted tickets before your trip are that you are guaranteeing that you will see the show of your choice on a date you choose.
Day of options, such as TKTS, lottery, rush, and standing room tickets, in contrast, are never a sure thing.
The major con is that you may have to spend more money than you would if you waited until you are in New York and can take advantage of the different ways to get cheap tickets described below.
Many tourist discount passes offer savings on select Broadway shows.
There are, of course, many other benefits of getting a tourist pass.
The biggest benefit is saving a great deal of money. Some passes can save you up to 55% on your itinerary of attractions to see.
To find out if getting a tourist past is right for you, our post, New York City Attraction Passes: Which One Is the Best to Buy, will help you make that decision.
TodayTix is an easy to use website which sells discounted tickets to shows.
It also has a very useful app where you can enter some of the digital lotteries, which we will talk about below.
These might not be for the top shows, though. Still, it is always worth a look.
On resale websites like StubHub, you can buy tickets in advance and you have a lot of flexibility to search the prices and seats you want, and they often offer lower than retail prices.
TIP: These are two very useful websites to get information about Broadway.
If you don’t have specific dates for your NYC visit but know you really want to see a show, consider coming to NYC during the tourist off-peak season.
Tickets tend to be less expensive in spring or fall whereas they are more expensive during the summer and even higher during the Christmas holiday seasons.
Read our post, When is the Cheapest Time to Visit NYC.
This biannual event happens in late January-early February and early September and allows guests to purchase two tickets for the price of one. It is actually a two-week long period.
Check the official New York City website for Broadway Week information.
Similar to Broadway Week, this is a biannual event and occurs twice a year, during February and late September to early October. You can get 2-for-1 tickets to over 20+ Off-Broadway shows which are often every bit as good, if not better, than some Broadway productions.
What’s the difference between a Broadway and Off-Broadway Show?
Throughout the year there are various theater performances that you can see, many for free.
In the holiday season, from late November through the New Year, you can see holiday-themed shows, besides Broadway shows. Some are even free!
TIP: Be sure to check our monthly things to do in NYC posts for other Broadway-related activities that may be going on.
One can buy tickets for same-night performances at the well-known red TKTS booths located in Manhattan.
The most popular (and most crowded) is the Times Square location. There are two other locations, one at Lincoln Center and the other at the South Street Seaport.
Expect long lines at the TKTS booths, especially at the Times Square location, and plan your day accordingly.
TKTS offers you the “best available” seats for that show. This means seats with the best view, rather than the least expensive.
Tickets purchased at TKTS booths are priced from 20% to 50% off normal ticket prices.
Note: The tickets offered are the seats available for purchase at that time. Since your first choice may not be available as the lines are long, it is advisable to have a list of a few shows that you would like to see.
For more information, see our detailed post about using TKTS to get discount Broadway tickets.
There are two types of ticket lotteries in NYC, a digital online lottery system and an in-person lottery system.
As the name suggests, these lotteries let you enter your name in a contest to win the chance to buy deeply-discounted tickets for that night’s performance.
To enter an in-person lottery you must go to the box office about 2 to 2.5 hours before curtain time.
At the theater, you will fill out a slip of paper with your name and the number of tickets you want, and hand it to the theater staff taking the slips. About 30 minutes later winners are announced.
If your name gets picked, you get to buy tickets priced between $25 and $35 and are usually in the front half of the orchestra.
Not all shows hold in-person lotteries, but those that do may be among the most popular shows. For example, as of January 2019, The Book of Mormon and The Phantom of the Opera were running in-person lotteries.
See our post, Broadway Show Ticket Lotteries, for more details on playing the in-person lotteries.
Tickets for many shows are available through ticket lotteries accessed online via website or app.
As the name implies, it is a lottery system, so there is no guarantee you will get tickets for that night’s show.
If you do win the lottery, tickets usually cost between $30 and $49 depending on the show. Hamilton is currently offering $10 lottery tickets.
To increase your odds of seeing some show that evening, you can easily enter several lotteries for different shows.
Also, some individual Broadway shows have their own ticket lottery on their website.
Currently, there are 4 websites that run lotteries: Broadway Direct, Lucky Seat, Telecharge, and TodayTix.
Here are just a few of the shows running digital lotteries as of January 2019:
For an in-depth guide on using the digital and in-person lottery systems, see our post, Broadway Show Ticket Lotteries.
Rush tickets are tickets that you can purchase at the box-office on the day of the performance.
Rush tickets can cost as low as $27- $45 for some shows.
There are a few different types of ticket rushes, but in general, Rush tickets go on sale when the box office opens, generally, 10 am, but check that theater’s website or call the box office to double-check.
Here is a sampling of shows with Rush tickets as of January 2019:
The pros and cons of trying for Rush tickets are straight forward.
The prices (between $27 to $45) cannot be beaten. But the downside is that it requires some time and effort on your part to get Rush tickets.
Theaters have a very limited number of Rush tickets each day and they are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Some people actually line up at the box office for popular shows as early as 5 or 6 am!
Still, if you have the time to wait on line, you can get a great deal on tickets to a Broadway show.
TIP: TodayTix allows you to try for Rush tickets via their app so you don’t need to go to the theater first thing in the morning. Be aware though that Rush tickets, whether in person or via an app, go fast.
Some shows offer day-of-show standing room tickets.
This is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of a seat, you are buying a numbered spot to stand just behind the last row in the orchestra section.
Standing room tickets are often as inexpensive as $27, but are limited in number and sell very quickly.
For very popular shows, a line will form for SRO tickets as early as 5 or 6 am the day of the show.
Many box offices do not sell standing room tickets until 2 hours before curtain, but it varies from show to show.
The best thing to do is call or stop by the box office of the show you would like to see and ask what their procedures are.
The biggest advantage of trying for SRO tickets is that if you manage to get one, you will save a lot of money to see a show with a pretty good view.
The downside is that you will have a spot – not a seat. This is not a good option for you if you don’t want (or are unable) to stand for a long period of time.
Some Broadway shows are well over two and a half hours with intermission.
Another con is that waiting on line for an SRO ticket does not guarantee you will get a ticket and you will have just spent most of your day sitting in a street in the Theater District for nothing.
SRO is probably not the best way to get cheap tickets unless you have lots of time to spare and can stand for two hours or more.
Also, it is also advisable to check with the box office for individual shows.
Though the odds are low, some people with tickets have to cancel their attendance to the show.
Any ticket cancellations are released shortly before the show start time. If you line up at the theater, you may be able to get one of these canceled tickets.
Bear in mind that there won’t be a whole lot of cancellations, but that there will be other people hoping to get a canceled ticket.
Your odds of success are better if you can arrive at the theater several hours before showtime.