The Arts

Broadway Discount Tickets: Where to Get Cheap Tickets to Broadway Theater

May 21, 2015
Broadway Marquees

The bright lights of Broadway – a thrilling experience. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Seeing a Broadway show can be a thrilling experience. It can also be very expensive. Full price tickets to hit shows sell for several hundred dollars a piece, making a performance prohibitively expensive for many. But discounts for Broadway tickets are available…if you know where to find them.

Discounted tickets to Broadway shows are offered to encourage the sale of unsold seats. Accordingly, shows that sell well at full-price rarely offer discounts. The availability of discounts will also vary by time of year, with fewer discounts when demand peaks in mid-November to New Years. More discounts are available in the dead of winter and summer when theater attendance is lighter.

The sources for discount Broadway tickets are…

Last-minute Discount Tickets

Run by the Theater Development Fund, the TKTS Booths sell tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows at up to 50% off full price. Simply line up at one of the three TKTS booths to purchase discount tickets.

TKTS, Times Square, NYC

Left: “the board” at TKTS, which list available shows and discounts. Right: the line can be several hours long,,,the price for significant discounts. Photos: Jeff Dobbins

1. The Times Square Booth (by far the most convenient to theater goers…and most crowded) sells day-of-performance discount tickets. Broadway & West 47th Street. Tickets to evening performances: 3pm – 8pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 2pm – 8pm Tuesday, and 3pm – 7pm Sunday. Matinee tickets: Wednesday & Saturday 10am – 2pm, and Sunday 11am – 3pm.

2. The South Street Seaport Booth sells tickets to evening performances on the day of the performance, as well as matinee tickets the day before. At the corner of Front & John Streets. 11am – 6pm Monday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm Sunday

3. The Downtown Brooklyn Booth sells tickets to evening performances on the day of the performance and matinee tickets the day before. 1 MetroTech Center, at the corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue Promenade. 11am – 6pm Tuesday – Saturday (closed 3pm-3:30pm)

Note: Be sure to check the TKTS website for special holiday hours, particularly the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

Ticket availability and supply change throughout the day (tickets are released to TKTS by each production based on their inventory of unsold seats). It is advisable to check what is available “at the booth” before heading to a location. You can find real-time listings on the TKTS website, as well as on their free mobile app.

Note: Ticket scalpers often circulate around the TKTS booths. It is never a good idea to purchase tickets from anyone on the street as they are often counterfeit or invalid. If you purchase fraudulent tickets, there is nothing the theaters can do to help you.

Another great source for last-minute discount theater tickets is the mobile app Today Tix, which allows you to avoid waiting in lines and purchase tickets online. The discount amounts vary, and the free app offers detailed information about the shows, including theater seating charts. Usually, a “ticket concierge” will be outside the theater before the performance to deliver your order. 

Broadway Discount Codes

Discounts on full-priced Broadway tickets are often available through the use of codes that, when applied at time of purchase, subtract the discounted amount. These codes allow you to purchase discount tickets to a show in advance. The codes generally include fine print, i.e. they are valid only for a short period (usually 6 – 8 weeks), and may not include all seating locations or performances.

Broadway Box

Broadway Box’s great free mobile app.

To utilize a discount code, simple enter the code when purchasing tickets online. If buying tickets over the phone, tell the agent you have a code before payment. You can also use codes at the theater box office by informing the treasurer you intend to use one (it’s a good idea to bring a printed copy of the offer to the box office as reference).

An excellent source for Broadway discount codes is the website: BroadwayBox. Websites devoted to Broadway and theater have free membership clubs that offer members discounts via codes. The most popular include Playbill Club and Theatermania’s Gold Club.

Broadway Roulette

For adventurous theater-goers, there is an innovative new option for discount tickets: Broadway Roulette. Tickets can be booked up to three months in advance (really helpful for trip planning) at rates that are far below the list prices.

Simply go to the Broadway Roulette website, select the date and number of tickets, and your preference for a musical or play. You can exclude up to six shows you’ve seen (or don’t want to see). On the day of the performance, Broadway Roulette “spins the wheel” and sends you to a show that matches your criteria. Tickets are a flat price of $49 – $59 weekdays and $59 – $69 weekends. There is also a “family-friendly” option available for $12 more/ticket, which limits the spin to musicals only and excludes any shows with subject matter that would be inappropriate for (most) children. Tickets are picked up either directly at the box office or from a company rep at a nearby location.

Broadway Roulette is a great option to discover new shows at bargain prices while avoiding the hassles (and waiting in long lines) often required to secure Broadway discounts.

Broadway Rush & Lotteries Tickets

Most shows offer a limited number of discount “rush tickets,” sold on the day of performance, usually when the box office opens. (For sold-out shows, these may be the only tickets available on the day of performance.) These tickets are often intended for students and require valid student ID. Tickets are subject to availability and locations vary (generally seats that don’t sell at full price, like front row sides, rear mezzanine, or partial view). Depending on the show and time of year, lining up well before the box office opens is required to secure rush tickets. Many box offices only accept cash for rush tickets.

Some shows opt for a lottery system for their rush tickets. Usually, entries will be accepted beginning two and a half hours prior to the performance, and two hours before curtain names are drawn at random for a limited number of tickets. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner.

See’s round up of Broadway Rush and Lottery offerings for a good overview. However, since policies may change at any time, it is advisable to check a show’s website prior to heading to the theater.

Finally, if you’re purchasing tickets for January or early autumn, look for the semiannual Broadway Week, during which shows offer two-for-one tickets. Dates vary for this sale, so check NYCGo for details.

Broadway theater

What’s more electrifying than a great Broadway show? Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Have you gotten discount Broadway tickets? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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