This summer I went a little crazy with seeing shows. Am I surprised? Not at all. I love theater and my goal was to see as many productions as possible. So, naturally, I saw 13 Broadway shows and two Off-Broadway shows. At this point I have enjoyed a majority of the shows on Broadway. The remaining shows I have seen with their touring casts. And I saw "Wicked" on the West End (London).
The best part about all the shows I have seen this summer is that I have been very thrifty with my purchases. The money that I have used to see all 15 of these performances is money that some people used to buy three tickets, or just one "Hamilton" ticket. Essentially I want to give some perspective on how to see as many shows as you can when you're in the city. Just follow this checklist and you should be golden!
1. Is the show touring?
If a show is on tour, then it might be in your best interest to check out Goldstar and get discounted tickets through them. Shows like "Wicked" and "Chicago" are great, but don't waste your time in NYC getting tickets when you can get them in your hometown. There are exceptions here and there, but mostly stick to the tours if you are visiting.
2. Check "Broadway For Broke People."
Broadwayforbrokepeople.com is actually my Bible when I am in the city. This site is pretty basic in terms of layout but it has so much golden information on it. It basically tells you the best way to get discounted tickets, as well as theatre location and any upcoming shows that might premiere.
3. Try rush tickets.
The site above will have several options for how to get tickets at a great price. The best option is rush. Rush tickets are usually limited view seats (meaning you cannot see a tiny fraction of the stage where nothing major happens) sold immediately when the box office opens on a first come, first serve basis. All box offices open at 10 a.m., so I always recommend getting there at least an hour prior. Kind of an early day, but it is a great way to get your vacation started!
4. Have a back-up plan.
Always have a back-up plan. If you are heading to get rush tickets at "The Color Purple," always have a back-up. I cannot say it enough. There are a million different variables that could make this necessary, such as long lines upon arrival or a sign at the door saying there are no tickets left for the show that day.
5. Try lotteries (as a last resort).
A lot of shows have lotteries. They used to do them in person but now they are all online ("Book of Mormon" does them in person and online now), making them so much easier to access but almost impossible to win. NYC is home to millions of people, meaning that millions of people could enter for the chance to win. However, with an average of 10-20 tickets available, the chances are slim.
6. TKTS/Today Tix can be an option.
TKTS is a discount theater service in Times Square that offers tickets for shows just hours before the performance. It is cheaper than full price but still overpriced. Keep in mind this is a business, where they have to make money. Today Tix is an app that offers better discounts but also tacks on $5-10 fees for tickets in advance and the day of. These places can be great but an average rush ticket is $40 while these places are selling them at double or triple that cost.
7. Be realistic.
Do not be naive about getting tickets. You cannot see "Hamilton" for a discount. They will not be sold at TKTS, or Today Tix, or at the box offices. Some shows just are not going to be sold at a discount. And if they are, everyone is going to try to get them. The good news: there plenty of other shows that you can see at a ridiculously good price.