Over my 13 years living in New York, I’ve easily been to close to 500 shows, and rarely paid full price.

I got to see most of them for free while I was working for a theatrical company. 

When I wasn’t getting free tickets from my job, I researched and found tons of affordable ways to see all the Broadway and Off-Broadway shows that were on my wish list.

There were even some weeks I’d see four or five shows because I couldn’t pass up free tickets or a great discount on amazing seats.

NYC is a very expensive city, so you’ll want to use all of these tips to find cheap Broadway tickets. 

Then use the money you’ve saved to treat yourself to a nice dinner, or in my case to buy discounted tickets to a few more shows.

I’ve even included a few helpful resources at the bottom, including answers to frequently asked questions about Broadway tickets to make planning your trip to Broadway a breeze!

Best Ways to Find Cheap and Discounted Broadway Tickets


Play the Lottery

One of the best ways to see a show, especially a sold-out one, is to win the lottery. 

It’s how I finally got to see Hamilton with the original cast, from the front row, after it totally sold out prior to its massive amount of Tony nominations and wins. 

Today, you can play most lotteries online, though a few theaters are still old school and require you to enter in person.

To find the rules for pretty much every show running, check Broadway For Broke People. It’s my favorite resource to quickly find out which shows are offering a lottery and where to enter.



Rush a Show

Another option is to rush a show.

I know you’re probably thinking, “what the hell does “rush a show” mean?”

Basically, it’s showing up first thing in the morning to see if the theater has any cheap seats set aside. 

Fair warning, sometimes these seats are only for students or people under a certain age, other times, it’s open to everyone. It’s best to check the show’s official page for information, or consult Broadway For Broke People.



Find Cheap Broadway Tickets for Young People

Like I mentioned above, student rush can be a great way to score cheap seats for some of Broadway’s hottest shows. 

If the show you’re dying to see doesn’t offer student rush, check to see if they offer any discounts or deals by signing up for their membership program. 

A lot of theater companies give special pricing to youth under a certain age.

My favorite one is LincTix, which is Lincoln Center’s free membership program for people under 35. Typically you can score roughly $30 tickets for their productions.


Become a Member

The good news is that even if you are over a certain age, you can still sign up to become a member at places like Roundabout Theater and Lincoln Center. 

You’ll be paying a yearly fee to join, but the prime access you get to tickets, especially during popular productions, is unbeatable. 

If you’re a young person, absolutely take advantage of the free youth membership programs multiple theatrical companies offer.

You’ll get access to buy discounted tickets by signing up. But it’s worth noting that they normally need to be purchased well before the date you’re hoping to see the show.



Hit Up TKTS

Want to see a Broadway show, but don’t really care about seeing the most popular production playing?

Then head to TKTS, a discount same day selling point that’s under the giant red stairs in Times Square, or downtown in South Street Seaport. 

I prefer going to the one in Times Square just before showtime, since that’s typically when prices will be the cheapest. 

When you get to the front of the line, you tell them what show you want to see and they hand over cheap tickets. 

The only thing I don’t love is that sometimes the seat locations aren’t the best, but at least you’ve gotten affordable show tickets. 

Local’s Tip: Download the TKTS app to see current wait times and available shows before heading to one of their locations.



Go Straight to the Box Office

The cheapest way to buy tickets is almost always to just go to the box office in person. 

You’ll avoid paying crazy service fees, like the ones Broadway.com adds on (the customer service is great, but their fees are out of control), and you’ll get expert advice from the person in the box office who knows which spots have the best view for the performance.

Even if it’s the last second before a show starts, try the box office. I recently got very lucky doing this right as a play was about to start, and ended up being given a fantastic free orchestra seat. 




Buy Early on Popular Apps

Are you planning your trip ahead of time and already making a list of the shows you need to see?

Then start buying those tickets early, especially if it’s going to be a popular production, and compare prices through popular apps and sellers.

I buy through TodayTix, Ticketmaster, or Telecharge when I can’t make it in person to the box office. 

TodayTix almost always has some sort of discount happening when shows first go on sale to the public.

But even if they don’t, buying when a show first goes on sale will give you access to buy the best cheap seats (often in the balcony or rear mezzanine), that the production is offering. 



Check Last Minute Deals From Resellers

One of my favorite things to do is to grab a drink or dinner near the theater of a show I’m dying to see. Then starting about an hour before curtain, I’ll keep an eye on the tickets being resold for that night.

It’s important to make sure if you’re doing this that the tickets can be easily downloaded or picked up at will call. 

Trust me, you’ll score some great last minute deals. The best one I got was a $10 orchestra ticket, about 20 minutes before a play called Sea Wall/ A Life starring Jake Gyllenhaal. 

It’s easier to find epic deals on single tickets, so solo travelers, or people willing to sit separately really have the advantage when purchasing this way. 

My favorite spots to keep an eye on tickets are StubHub and Ticketmaster.


Book Group Tickets

Are you traveling with a large group of people?

If you all can agree on a certain show, it’ll be to your advantage to book tickets through group sales, since buying a large quantity of tickets (typically 10+) comes with a discount.

When planning to book this way, head straight to the show’s official webpage to find their contact for booking as a group.


Research Service Fees

It’s incredible to me that people don’t research and compare service fees when booking tickets.

I used to work for a company that has the highest service fees, and a lot of the time customers would book tickets just because it was the first website they landed on from google.

Occasionally, we’d get a call from someone who saw the insane service fee per ticket listed on their receipt. 

Naturally, they were angry because they would have saved a solid amount of cash if they had just researched more and purchased directly through the show’s official website. 

If you can, just buy in person at the box office, but if you’re from out of town, you’ll want to research or just go directly to the show’s website to be linked to their official seller, which is normally Ticketmaster or Telecharge

FAQ’s

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Is it better to sit in the orchestra or mezzanine?

Both mezzanine and orchestra seating are considered comparable, it really comes down to personal preference. 
I prefer mezzanine seating for shows because I think it’s better to have the vantage point of a higher view to fully enjoy choreography and set design.

How much are good seats for a Broadway Show?

You can get amazing tickets through a lottery or rush for just over $20 if you’re lucky. Paying full price, you can get great balcony seats in the smaller theaters for around $70 and fantastic mezzanine and orchestra seats for over $100.
 
Broadway theaters are pretty small compared to regional theaters, so in most venues there is rarely a bad seat in the house (unless you buy partial view).

Are front row seats good for a Broadway Show?

It depends, sometimes they are fantastic and other times they are much too close and end up being hard to see from. A lot of the time it depends on the specific show and venue. For example, the front row at Hamilton was out of this world, but at Wicked felt way too close. 

What are the best shows to see when visiting Broadway for the first time?

My first Broadway show was Wicked with my mom on my 16th birthday, and it was marvelous. Depending on who you’re seeing the show with, some other popular options are Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Book of Mormon
Feel free to shoot me an email if you want specific recommendations, I’m always thrilled to chat Broadway shows.

Curtain Call

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Now that you know all of my tips and tricks when it comes to finding cheap Broadway tickets, you’ll hopefully be able to score a great deal to see the show you’ve been dying to catch.

And as always, let me know if you need any show recommendations. I’ve seen pretty much every show playing and love helping people plan their Broadway experiences.

I have tons of opinions and over a decade of experience working in ticketing helping customers choose the perfect show and seats to make their trip to NYC extra special.




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