There is something special about going to a Broadway show. Even for those who see lots of plays and musicals in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles; there is something special about seeing the show on the Great White Way in New York City. There is something even more special about getting last-minute great Broadway seats when in town on business or pleasure as a special treat.
Purchasing Broadway tickets well in advance is great for those who know they will be in Manhattan a specific time and want to see a show that is notorious for hard to score tickets. But, for those planning a last-minute trip to the Big Apple or happened to be in town and suddenly available to see a show, do not despair. It is possible to get tickets to many shows a few hours before curtain time without paying through the nose for a scalped or resold ticket.
For face value , or less, Broadway tickets can be purchased, with the exception of Saturday nights. Saturdays are the most difficult day to get good seats for any Broadway show. The tricks to acquiring last minute tickets are to either be willing to pound the pavement, be flexible on which show and price level, and have some good luck.
Here are some ways for getting last-minute Broadway tickets without resorting to a scalper or high-priced broker:
- Broadway Discount Codes: Many Web sites promoting Broadway shows publish discount codes (for up to 50 percent off) for select shows. Web surfing can provide options to get seats at a reduced price without leaving the hotel room.
- The Box Office: Some shows have regular tickets available on show days (which they will try to unload through the TKTS booth at later in the day). For those who do not have the time or inclination to try the TKTS booths, call or stop by the theater box office.
- The TKTS Booth (formerly known as the Half-Price Ticket Booth): There are three TKTS booths in New York City that sell same-day discounted Broadway tickets (next day for matinees). The booths are located in Times Square, the South Street Seaport and Brooklyn. This is where shows unload unsold tickets, so the ones available vary day-to-day. Sometimes, they even get last-minute cancellation seats for one of the hotter shows, particularly on a weekday. Plan to be in line for a while in peak tourist seasons. But, at least there are now three locations and many more windows at the remodeled and enlarged Times Square location.
- Buy Cancellation Tickets: There may be great cancellation tickets available at the box office shortly before a performance begins. There might even include great house seats that were set aside for someone who could not come. Ask at the box office early enough in the day to find out the odds, if there is a list or how it works for that particular theater.
- Last-Minute Rush Tickets or, for some shows, Standing Room Only: Many Broadway and Off Broadway theaters make relatively inexpensive unsold tickets available right before the performance. Each box office has its own policies about selling standing room only or rush tickets (e.g., some might limit sales to students or other groups). It does not hurt to ask.
There are some great shows and great stars on Broadway right now. Take advantage of time in the city to see a show. Just know, if it is the last minute, patience is a virtue. So is flexibility. Luck helps too! But, getting last-minute tickets is possible for many Broadway shows, so give it a try.
By Dyanne Weiss