BWW Blog: Broadway on a Budget
Living in one of the most expensive cities in the United States as a stereotypically broke college student sounds like a financial disaster on paper. Especially when you're like me and have zero economic impulse control. As the internet youths would say, "[My money] is here for a good time. Not a long time." And living just steps from some of the most iconic Broadway theatres and productions doesn't help my case much either.
However, even though I don't have much disposable income, I've figured out how to be savvy with the minimal amount I do have. Over my two months here I have seen four shows on Broadway and only spent just over $120. These are my Broadway hacks:
With being a student you're automatically eligible in receiving a TDF Membership. There is an annual $40 for the membership, however, this pays for itself after one = purchase. I was able to see Sea Wall/A Life with Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal in 12th row orchestra for only $43 during their closing weekend with TDF!
How does it work?
After creating your account and submitting proof of active student enrollment (I just emailed them a picture of my class schedule) you can log into their Discount Tickets tab on tdf.org. Here you can find a surplus of Broadway, Off-Broadway, Cabaret, Comedy, Improv (and more!) shows. The max price for Broadway tickets is only $49! Granted, you do not get to select where your seats are and will not know until you pick them up from the box office, but hey, $49 is $49. I can't complain.
If you've been to the city before, you're probably familiar with the TKTS Booths in Times Square and Lincoln Center. This is where you can get discounted day-of tickets for shows. The booth opens at 10AM for matinee shows and 3PM for evening performances. The shows they have for the day will be listed on the boards next to the booth one hour before it opens. They also have an app which allows you to gauge which shows will be up, plus the app allows you to set notifications for when your favorite shows are at the booth! When my parents were dropping me off at school we were able to grab some day-of tickets for Beetlejuice, 7th row center orchestra, for $60 a piece! My roommate, Sara, and I were also able to score tickets to Frozen for $50. These are for sure on the pricier end, but are great for a last-minute splurge.
If you bought tickets from the booth within the pass 14-days you're able to move to the front of the line! Just bring back your ticket stubs and show them to a TKTS employee!
This is perhaps the crown jewel of all the options I've listed so far, but it is definitely one that has more work put into it. With StubHub I was able to score $60 day-of tickets to Hamilton. Yes, you read that right. Hamilton.
Watch the prices! Especially, day-of. It is very rare to get a deal like that days in advance, so play close watch the prices throughout the day of the performance, especially a few hours prior. I bought my Hamilton ticket 2 hours before the house opened. That is when the big drop happens! I also know several people who were able to nab $35 tickets to Hadestown using the same method. To grab a deal like that though, they purchased just minutes before the performance by waiting outside of the theatre and buying just 5 minutes before the house closed.
What if I get scammed?
This is an understandable worry, but I have used StubHub on several accounts and knock on wood - have not been scammed. If this ever unfortunately does happen though, StubHub has a 100% money back guarantee, and if available, they try to find you equivalent or better tickets than you originally purchased!
BOX OFFICE DEALS
Many shows, such as Betrayal and the Book of Mormon, have special (non-publicized) box office specials. All you have to do is go in and ask! I have friends who were able to get $30 to Betrayal, and last summer, I was able to get $45 to the Book of Mormon. I'm not sure which shows participate in this, but it never hurts to ask. The worst they can say is no, and let's be honest, as theatre-makers we are more than accustomed to hearing that word.
RUSH AND LOTTERY
Almost all shows on Broadway have some type of digital and/or in-person rush or lottery. This is perhaps the hardest way to get a ticket, but you can pay as little as $10. Every lottery and rush vary from show to show. The best way to find more information is to do a quick Google search with the show you're interested in seeing + the key words of lottery or rush!
I have gotten extremely lucky on a few instances in receiving free tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway productions from my school. I was able to see The Lightning Thief and Our Dear Dead Drug Lord for FREE! We have also received offers for several other shows throughout the city such as The Play That Goes Wrong and The Great Society. I know the surplus of emails you receive from them can be a drag at times, but don't immediately delete them without reading! You never know what might be inside of them.