How to get cheap Broadway tickets

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about travel, it’s that travel is an intensely personal thing. I could have an entirely different experience of the same city than you do, and it could come down to factors as simple and arbitrary as the weather, where I stayed, what food I ate and the people I encountered.

Also, you should never feel bad for not doing the ‘must dos’ in any given city. If it’s not your thing, why waste the time/money?

Here’s the part where I tell you that we did not go up a tall building, visit MOMA, or see a Broadway show while in New York. And I have no regrets.

We did try, several times, to get tickets to the Book of Mormon. We did the lottery thing on Friday and Saturday, and even lined up for standing room only tickets one evening (unfortunately, there were just under 20 tickets and we were about 24th in line).

I’ve learned that you need to get in EARLY – people start queueing hours ahead for SRO.

See also: this guide to seating in various Broadway theatres, and this guide to rush, lottery and SRO policies for various shows.

Here’s what else I’ve learned about how to find cheap Broadway tickets in New York:

  • Playbill is a goldmine for advance ticket offers. You’re not going to find amazing deals for the hot new shows – not here or anywhere else – but if you aren’t too picky about specific musicals, then sign up to get their deals emailed to you.
  • TKTS is where it’s at for same-day discounted tickets, but again, you can’t expect to find deals for the top shows.
  • Resellers like Stubhub tack on so many fees that when you finally get to the checkout page, you’ll be seeing red. Try Tickpick, which isn’t as sneaky about that stuff. (Content marketing works. I found a Tickpick blog post while Googling for info about various seat locations in the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, but their site doesn’t come up – at least not very high – when you simply search for tickets to a certain show.)

Now, my problem with Tickpick was that they apparently didn’t accept NZ credit cards, so I couldn’t buy the last two cheap tickets I spotted on the site. After much hemming and hawing, I decided just to select Australia as my country from the choices listed, and see what happened. The next page then informed me that the tickets had been sold to someone else already (isn’t it pretty standard to hold tickets temporarily if someone is looking at them online?!). But the REAL issue was that I checked my account balance the next day and saw that Tickpick had put a hold for the purchase amount on there. WTF.

In short: I could, potentially, have bought those tickets anyway?! Whatever; that didn’t work out, obviously, and I had to wait a week for that hold to lift.

Points to Tickpick, at least, for responding to my query about the credit card hold fairly promptly.

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4 thoughts on “How to get cheap Broadway tickets

  • Reply The Asian Pear December 12, 2013 at 01:30

    Thanks for the tips. I’m going to NYC in January but I’ve decided not to do the discounted routes based on your post (because I only have 3 days in NYC and I don’t want to waste it waiting in line…) Oh well. I’ll just wait for the shows to come to Toronto (hopefully).

  • Reply Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 12, 2013 at 14:50

    I agree that if you go to NY, Broadway is almost a must see unless you really hate that sort of thing. I got really lucky and got lottery tickets to the Book of Mormon. Front row center for $25 a piece. I was over the moon since that’s the one I really wanted to see.

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