I didn’t want to confirm to the stereotype (I was born in East Germany) but I had to get in line before I knew exactly what it was for. After all, I had been magically drawn to Broadway, walking up and down each theatre, gazing up at the shimmering billboards. What was on at the moment? It’s not like I didn’t know. I had been monitoring the shows already, battling with myself where to go. Off course, I couldn’t possibly see everything. (My wallet would be screaming in protest.) So Broadway discounts suddenly became vitally important to me.
When in NYC…
Luckily my passion for musicals led me to being allowed by Broadway Collection to see Waitress as a member of the press. (It was everything!) But not everybody has that option. And so I resigned myself to waiting in line for hours for the feeble hope of snatching a returned ticket for Dear Evan Hansen.
Online prices had become outrageous, it was the latest hot craze and with the same level of global fan dedication as Hamilton had been a while ago. Musical outbursts about excruciating anxiety and the dangers of social media? The songs hit a nerve. And that included (teenage) me. (I challenge every introvert teen to listen to Waving through a Window and not feel like it was written especially for them.)
The wait dragged on forever, only a lucky few were let in and naturally the line was cut off right in front of me. Not this time. But the time wasn’t wasted. I learned a lot about other great shows and – just as importantly – how to not break the bank and get your hands on affordable Broadway tickets. Chatting to musical loving New Yorkers is quite rewarding!
Good Old Queuing for Broadway Discounts
If you’ve missed the window for in advance bookings, maybe because of a spontaneous visit or forgetfulness, you can always try to ask at the ticket booth. Many discounted musical tickets are sold at the TKTS booth on Times Square. However, this usually doesn’t include the currently hot shows.
Similar to West End musicals in London, there are reduced on the day tickets, called General Rush tickets. These are available on a first come, first served basis, though not for all musicals (check this musical calendar). Even so, you can hope to get in line and have a chance at a ticket that has been returned. Since the performance time is getting closer, they are not resold at full premium price. Not cheap but cheaper.
If you are extra special lucky, someone wanting to get rid of their ticket will show up in person and you can pounce at the ticket right away. Just have plenty of cash ready. I didn’t and missed out on a ticket. Boohoo.
The Golden Ticket – Broadway Lottery
If all else fails, you are in town for a couple of days and feel lucky, sign up for the Broadway lottery. Musicals like Dear Evan Hansen and Anastasia have daily online ticket lotteries. For others, there are also in-Person Broadway and mobile ticket lotteries. For these, you can throw your name into the hat. Once you win, you have the chance to purchase the tickets for only $10-40 for the day’s show (for a limited number of tickets). Imagine winning at that?
The online sign up opens at midnight and closes a few hours before the draw. For matinees, you will hear back at 8am and for evening shows, it is 2pm. Keep your email updates on! I made absolutely sure my internet was on and right on time the emails popped in. I’d love to tell you they were of congratulatory nature. They weren’t. I’m still sobbing.
To be on top of all the Broadway discounts, check out the Broadway lottery calendar. Here, you can see which type of lotteries each musical has and for what days.
Getting Apps for Musical Discounts
Standing in line, waiting for tickets, the lady next to me was constantly monitoring her app. Prices went up and down. She was ready to hit the purchase button. Today wasn’t her luck. But the next thing I did when I was in a wifi zone was to copy her and download the right apps. Of course, you can also check their website if you don’t want to download too many apps.
Scouring the www for Broadway Tickets
Even with these apps, the simplest trick is also to just ask your friend google. There are tons of websites that will pop up for a specific musical search. Just go through all of them and compare prices. This way I snatched a last minute ticket reduction of Anastasia three hours before the performance. The ticket price had been lowered by $60 and I only found out by keeping my tabs open and refreshing every hour. (Yes, I was clinging to my feeble hope and it paid off!)
Here are some websites to have a look at (in no particular order):
How Hard Is It to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets?
Ultimately, it is a good idea to book Broadway tickets to shows you absolutely HAVE to see as soon as possible. Maybe even before you set the travel dates, so you can work them around the discounted Broadway tickets. But if – for whatever reason – that didn’t work for you, it is still possible to feed your musical appetite.
Especially if you aren’t set on a specific show or musical, there are tons of deals for §30- $60! You could technically see three musicals for the price of one super hit musical. If you aren’t fazed by following the current craze, this is golden! Also, you could potentially witness a future hit! Therefore, do not disregard off Broadway productions either.
I wish you all the best and lots and lots of fun!! New York City’s shows and musicals are such high quality and there is a never ending supply, boredom is basically not possible.
Tell me, which show would you see first if you got your hands on any discounted Broadway ticket?
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