#HousemateAdvice comes from a current or past Our Place Housemate. Liedewei, from Belgium, shares her tips for seeing Broadway one the cheap.
Hi! My name is Liedewei. I’ve been living at Our Place for quite some time now and for me the most exciting thing in the city is the amazing variety of musicals and plays. You could spend every night at the theatre and still see a different show every day. “Yeah right, maybe if you have an unlimited bank account”, I hear you say as you read this, but going to the theatre doesn’t have to be expensive. Read on for 6 different ways to see a Broadway show and still have money for groceries.
1. Download an app
There are a few apps to help you find discounted tickets. I always use TodayTix. This app lists numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, as well as other select types of shows across NYC (and other cities). Browse through their offerings or search for that specific play you’ve been dying to see and check out their discounts for the next couple of weeks. If you can’t find a nice deal today, maybe something will pop up tomorrow. Be aware of the additional fees as you budget your night out - most of my purchases had a $12.50 fee per ticket.
2. Rush hour tickets
If you want to avoid fees (which come along with most tickets), try rush tickets. These tickets are usually $29-$50 and sold at the box office on a first come first serve basis. True fans might be standing in line hours before the box office opens! I “rushed” once to see Jason Mraz in Waitress… I arrived at the box office 2 hours prior to opening and was the last one to get a ticket, leaving lots of people behind me empty handed. If you’re considering rushing, come prepared! Dress according to the season, bring food & drink and a friend to keep your spot when you need a bathroom break. These tickets might not be the best seats in the theatre, since they are generally the last ones to be sold, but your wallet will thank you.
3. Standing room tickets
For some shows you can buy a standing room ticket. These are generally a few dollars cheaper than the rush hour tickets. Most of the shows will only offer these tickets when the theater is sold out. In other words: it’s a nice way to sneak into the popular shows, if you are willing to stand the whole evening.
4. Broadway Lottery
Some shows give you the option to enter for a chance to win up to 2 cheap tickets ($10-$50) to a same-day or next-day performance. Depending on the show, you can either enter in person or online. Participating in the lottery is free, but if you win you’ll need to pay for the discounted ticket/s.
In person: Frankly, I have never done an in person lottery. From what I’ve heard, you show up at the theatre at a certain time, enter your name and the number of tickets you want (1 or 2) and wait for the lucky names to be drawn. An Our Place housemate won an in-person lottery for Book of Mormon, and paid $32 per ticket to sit in the front center row.
Online: The majority of Broadway shows I have seen were online lottery wins. There are 2 websites that give access to a variety of lotteries: Lucky Seat and Broadway Direct. If you win, both sites give you exactly 1 hour from the announcement to purchase the tickets before they get passed onto the next person in line.
Lucky Seat hosts $30-$42 (per ticket) lotteries for musicals across America. You can enter anytime for the next 7 days and you can even arrange for a text message to notify you when you have won. This is handy since you may not be looking at your email when the announcement as made and you don’t want to miss that 1 hour window to purchase.
To win $30-$42 tickets from Broadway Direct, you’ll have to enter for each show during the period that the lottery is open which is generally the same night or next day as the show. They will email the results when the lottery closes, which is at a different time for every lottery. I’ve missed a lot of wins due to this system, so now I set an alarm whenever I play on this site.
Hamilton: If you’re one of the many people who want to see Hamilton without emptying your bank account, there are two ways to win the opportunity to purchase their $10 tickets. You can enter Lucky Seat, AND on Hamilton’s very own app! The app also gives you access to a lot more content about the musical such as merchandise, news, trivia and karaoke, just through a few clicks on your smartphone.
Visit this post from Playbill.com to learn which shows have rush hour tickets, standing room tickets and lotteries.
5. Broadway Roulette
If your goal is to see a Broadway show and you don’t have a preference or particular show in mind, Broadway Roulette might be for you. For $49-$59 you choose a date and they let you know what show you will be attending. Interested? Give it a shot ;)
6. Broadway Week
Last but not least, ‘Broadway Week’ happens twice a year. During this time period (which is often longer than a week), select shows offer 2-for-1 tickets. Sales start a few weeks in advance on Broadway Show Tickets, NYC Go, or on a regular ticket sale website with the BWAYWK promo code. For the specific period and rules, Google will tell all!
Hopefully you’re already on your way to a Broadway show at discount, but if you still have questions, www.playbill.com can be a very helpful website. Keep an eye out for show-specific offers such as discounted tickets, 2-for-1 tickets, second ticket for $10, free anniversary performances, and more. I often stumble upon these offers on social media. In any case, best of luck with the lottery! And please take me as your +1…