Last-Minute Discount Broadway Tickets
It might be the goal of every Broadway performance to sell out, but for millions of would-be audience members who troll the Web for tickets, or pack the lobby hours in advance of curtain-up, a show's success can be a headache. While there isn't much to be done about the Book of Mormon being booked solid until 2013 – at least where the primary ticket market's concerned – there are always ways to see your favorite musicals within a reasonable timeframe, and equally doable price range.
We've broken down the best options for securing last-minute Broadway tickets, with an emphasis on cheap discounts and deals. Whether you're looking to buy tickets online, are willing to hoof it to a TKTS booth, or decide the morning-of you feel like walking The Great White Way that night, multiple avenues are available for those who know where to look:
Last-Minute Broadway Tickets Offline
Among the more well-known of last-minute ticket options, the TKTS booths are a Broadway staple, for good reason. There are three centers located throughout the city: a Times Square location, Southstreet Seaport site, and downtown Brooklyn option, each offering a different deal. Times Square only sells discount tickets for day-of performances; Southstreet Seaport sells for evening day-of performances, as well as for matinee shows the following day; and Brooklyn presents the same options as Southstreet, in addition to selling tickets to Brooklyn-specific arts events. For more information on the various TKTS offerings and directions, check out their official website here.
Rush and SRO Tickets
Another popular, proven option is to "rush" a show, or procure Standing Room Only tickets. Depending on the theater, "rushing" entails buying discounted tickets from the theater's box office either when it opens the morning of the performance, or just before the show begins. Often these tickets are SRO, or Standing Room Only. While the number of rush or SRO tickets varies from performance to performance, and are never guaranteed, if you're among the first in line, your wallet will reap the benefits: these tickets can go for as little as $20-$30.
Ask Your Concierge
This option is ideal for tourists unfamiliar with the city, who don't have the time/inclination/babysitter to rush or scour the Web. Asking your hotel's concierge ranks among the more reliable methods of securing cheap Broadway tickets – he or she knows the city better than anyone else, and may have developed relationships with brokers or theaters through years of helping guests with their Broadway questions. A knowledgable concierge may be something to look into when selecting the right hotel for your NYC stay.
Concierge and Ticket Center
Similar to the TKTS booth, the Concierge and Ticket Center is a physical site offering discount Broadway tickets, as well as personal advice from customer service representatives. Another great option for tourists, the Concierge and Ticket Center located in the heart of Times Square (inside the Visitor Center on 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th streets) boasts representatives who collectively speak six languages, and who offer maps and restaurant recommendations in addition to ticket advice. If you'd rather avoid the masses mulling around Times Square, visit the CTC website to chat with one of their representatives online.
Last-Minute Broadway Tickets Online
This site is one of the more straight-forward options, and among those that best fulfill the query, "last-minute Broadway tickets." Broadway.com posts deals each morning at 10 am for shows later that same day or night. However, according to their website, your best bet may be to call their customer-service number – deals not only change throughout the day, but if you'd like to see a show not listed among that day's bargains, one of their operators can try to personally track down tickets (they accept requests up until 4:30 pm the day of the show).
Playbill, TheaterMania, and BroadwayBox.com
Each of these websites offers promotional codes for cheap Broadway tickets. While many prefer BroadwayBox because it doesn't require you to sign up for anything in order to gain access to codes and discount tickets, its selection is less varied. Additionally, there's no obligation to sign up for TheaterMania's newsletter, and Playbill only asks for your email address. No matter which option you select, all are free services that offer cheap deals.
Not only because my boss "suggested" it, I've included SeatGeek for its comprehensiveness and navigational ease. We do the discount-hunting for you: we scour the Web and compile a list of the secondary ticket-market sites that sell tickets to the musicals you'd like to see. For each individual performance, we show which sites offer the best deals using our color-coded Deal Score (green dots are a bargain, stay away from red). It's one-stop shopping for the top Broadway and off-Broadway shows, an aggregator with no Google-searching frustration.
Last-Minute Broadway Tickets for Tonight
Many of the above options also fall into this category, but for the true procrastinator, you can always work for your entertainment bread. Many theaters welcome volunteer ushers for evening performances. You'll need to call the box office several hours before the show begins to see if they're "hiring," then show up for a brief training session before patrons arrive. After you've fulfilled your ushering duties, you're free to enjoy your equally free Broadway show.
Last though by no means least among the "best" ticketing options, Givenik.com is a discount Broadway site with an altruistic twist: the site donates five percent of each ticket purchase to the sponsored charity of your choice. The discounts themselves aren't always the cheapest options, but what it lacks in great deals Givenik more than makes up for in good karma.
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