“Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today, I wanna be a part of it, New York New York!!” – Frank Sinatra
One of the most well-known attractions and experiences in New York City is to go to a Broadway musical! On my very first visit to NYC, seeing as many broadway shows as I could fit in (and afford!) was the top priority and I managed to see four awesome shows, most with discounted ticket prices.
So how can you book a broadway show in NYC and get discounted rates? I’ll tell you how!
1. Book Online (and in advance!)
If you have very limited time to spend in New York City I highly recommend for you to book your broadway musical (or musicals!) online and in advance to ensure you get the musical you want and the seat/s that you want. There are many discounted musicals available on broadway in NYC but a lot of the popular ones require you to pay a full adult price.
Wicked the musical was one of the most popular musicals my friend and I were dying to see so we went onto the US Ticketmaster website and booked our tickets for our specific date and chose our exact seats at least two months in advance. It was very well worth it; Wicked was an AMAZING and a WONDERFUL performance! I highly recommend seeing it!
What are the advantages of booking online and in advance?
1. Guarantees that you get broadway ticket/s on the date and time that you want.
2. You get to specify exactly where you want to sit.
3. You can print your tickets at home before you leave, and avoid the hassle of picking them up at the box office (but you can also purchase tickets at the box office if you prefer).
What are the disadvantages to booking online and in advance?
The only disadvantage I can see is that you will be paying for a full price ticket, which depending on the show can cost you between $90-$150. If you are only seeing one show then a splurge of $90-$150 is well worth it, but ultimately it depends on your personal preferences and interests! If you are planning on seeing more than one Broadway show then I recommend you purchase discounted tickets, which leads me to my second way to book shows on broadway…
2. TKTS Box
If you have quite a few days to spend in New York City then the best bet to book broadway tickets (and also to save you some money!) is to purchase discounted tickets at the TKTS booth. The TKTS Box has two locations in New York City:
1. Times Square (47th Street and Broadway)
For Evening Performances:
|Monday:||3:00pm – 8:00pm|
|Tuesday:||2:00pm – 8:00pm|
|Wednesday:||3:00pm – 8:00pm|
|Thursday:||3:00pm – 8:00pm|
|Friday:||3:00pm – 8:00pm|
|Saturday:||3:00pm – 8:00pm|
|Sunday:||3:00pm – 7:00pm|
For Matinee Performances:
|Wednesday:||10:00am – 2:00pm|
|Thursday:||10:00am – 2:00pm|
|Saturday:||10:00am – 2:00pm|
|Sunday:||11:00am – 3:00pm|
2. Lower Manhatten Theatre Centre (South Street, Seaport)
For Same-Day Evening and
Next-Day Matinee Performances:
|Monday:||11:00am – 6:00pm|
|Tuesday:||11:00am – 6:00pm|
|Wednesday:||11:00am – 6:00pm|
|Thursday:||11:00am – 6:00pm|
|Friday:||11:00am – 6:00pm|
|Saturday:||11:00am – 6:00pm|
|Sunday:||11:00am – 4:00pm*|
*Closed Sundays in the winter
NOTE: Matinee tickets are only sold on the day before the performance at TKTS South Street Seaport.
Top Tips for using the TKTS Box to book Broadway Tickets
1. Arrive Early
I would advise getting there at least an hour before the TKTs booth opens; even before that you will see people already lining up! I have visited NYC in both the Summer AND Winter season and there were lines! I think it’s safe to say there will ALWAYS be a line to get discounted tickets.
2. Discounts are not applied to all musicals
Not all musicals are discounted – there is a digital board there on the side of the TKTs booth which will tell you which musicals are on sale, but they are ONLY FOR THAT DAY. You cannot buy tickets for shows for the next day or the next two days, only for that day of performance.
The Exception is that at TKTs South Street Seaport you must purchase matinee tickets the day before the performance.
Musicals such as Wicked, The Book of Mormon and The Lion King for example will not be discounted.
3. Discounts on select Broadway shows can vary day to day
Depending on the day, the discounts on musicals will vary!
The very first musical I wanted to see while visiting NYC for the week was Phantom of the Opera. The first day I went to the TKTs booth, there were tickets discounted at 25%, which is a great discount, but I had a feeling the discount would increase (so that night I saw a different musical that had a greater discount). Luckily enough, the next day I went back to the TKTs booth and Phantom of the Opera was 40% off, so I bought my ticket and saw it that night!
My advice is to keep an eye on how much of a discount you can get for musicals you want to see; if you are spending a week or more in NYC, then you have more time to play with, and you can shuffle around the order in which you want to see your musicals! (which is what I did).
4. Are the discounts worth it?
My 40% off Phantom of the Opera ticket I purchased for 80 USD. My seat was located in the second row from the front in the Orchestra section, which is one of the prime spots to be seated for a show (in my opinion anyway).
Some may think 80 USD is still quite a lot to spend on a musical, but in my opinion it was totally worth it and better than paying up to a maximum of 170 USD which is a full price ticket in the same section.
For Wicked the musical, my friend and I paid 120 USD each for our full price tickets.
The discounts are definitely worth it, especially if you plan on seeing more than one show.
Insider tip: If you are planning on seeing more than one broadway show, bring your show tickets to your next TKTs booth visit, and then you can SKIP THE LINE, and purchase your next broadway show ticket without waiting in line! How great is that?! (If I had known this earlier, I would have saved myself a little more time).
3. Broadway Ticket Lotteries & General Rush Tickets
Win the Lottery!
Every day of the week, many broadway shows have the option to fill out your name and the number of tickets you would like (either 1 or 2), and you go into the draw to win discounted tickets! If you are a lucky winner you may purchase Broadway tickets at the very low cost of $25!
You must check the show’s box office (If you want to see Matilda for example, go to the Schubert Theatre Box Office) and check the times the lottery is drawn. Tickets are only valid for that day of performance.
Please note that the seat location for the performances will vary, so you may get a seat in the Orchestra section or in the Mezzanine, you just never know!
General Rush tickets
Most days of the week, many broadway shows have the option of buying heavily discounted tickets, but they are limited in number! They are available only at certain times of the day, usually two hours in advance of when a show begins, so you must arrive quite early! Again, seat location will vary and the tickets are only valid for that day of performance.
There are very mixed opinions about whether you should buy tickets from random people outside the theatres, and my answer is PROBABLY NOT. The tickets you purchase may not be real or authentic, and legally ticket scalpers are not allowed within approximately 200 metres of the Broadway theatre.
If you are travelling on a budget then you might be interesting in purchasing Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets! These tickets are only available right before showtime for only select musicals and there can be limited tickets available! The advantage of this is the tickets are heavily discounted! For example, when I saw Chicago, people were standing at the back the whole performance, and the tickets were only 27 USD. Also, SRO tickets for Matilda are priced at 27 USD.
Want more information?
Playbill.com has detailed inside information about each musical – they mention how much general rush, lottery and standing room only tickets are and their availability.
Nytix.com website has detailed information on Broadway ticket lottery and general rush ticket schedules, plus their prince range.
Have you used any other tricks to book Broadway shows as an overseas visitor in NYC?
Leave your tips and advice in the comments section below!