Special Reports

8 Ways to Score Cheaper Theater Tickets in New York

Whether you’re looking for Broadway or off-Broadway, theatergoers on a budget have plenty of options.

Like many a New Yorkers, I love to see as many shows as possible each season. But with inflation, the cost of living in NYC, and Broadway ticket prices, it can be hard to justify the price tag of seeing one show, let alone dozens. But, with a lot of sleuthing, dedication, and this handy guide, good deals can be found! The thrill of a great ticket deal can make any show even more exciting and satisfying, while keeping your bank account happy.
While this list focuses on New York City, check with your local theater to see if any of these options are available to you!

Not every ticket for The Music Man is $699.
Not every ticket for The Music Man is $699.
(© Christina DiCillo)

1. The Box Office

The first tip on the list is to go directly to the box office, if possible. Most ticketing services charge fees (some fairly hefty), making ticket prices more expensive. Box offices do not charge service fees, and any other fees are included in the price. If they tell you a seat is $99, it means $99. The closer to curtain it gets, the better the deals can sometimes be, so if you are patient and flexible, this is a great option.

The best way to score a deal at the box office? Use a promo code! Did you know that you can take our TheaterMania discount codes to the box office to get great ticket deals, minus the extra handling fees? Bring along a code and find a fantastic deal!

2. Join the Club!

TheaterMania Gold is the best kept secret in town. With access to various deals across NYC, from Broadway to the Yankees, and the ability to bring along some friends, your membership fee can pay for itself in one outing. Club inventory varies and can go quickly, so it is best to keep an eye out for the deals before they get snatched up! In fact, right now TheaterMania Gold memberships are 25 percent off. Learn more by clicking here.

3. Get With the Program

For some of us theater fans, the days of qualifying for these clubs has come and gone, but if you are 40 or under, a lot of great theaters have programs for you! Check out the following for great seats and an amazing price while you still can!
Hiptix – 40 and under
LincTix – 35 and under
30 Under 35 – 35 and under
2ST – 30 and under

The Broadway production of Hamilton used to hold a huge lottery drawing in front of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, but that has all been moved online.
The Broadway production of Hamilton used to hold a huge lottery drawing in front of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, but that has all been moved online.
(© Seth Walters)

4. Lotteries

While many shows had in-person lotteries before the pandemic, most of these have been phased out in favor of digital lotteries. Each production will have its own specifics when it comes to the lottery (if one if offered at all). Ticket locations and prices vary by production and availability. If you are patient and have time to wait until you win, or just want to try your luck while you're in town, lotteries are an exciting and cost-effective way to see shows. Some lotteries, like Shakespeare in the Park, are even free!

5. Rush Tickets

Available on a first come, first served basis by certain productions, these tickets are sold at the discretion of the box office, usually at significantly discounted prices (make sure to check if there are also student rush tickets available). While these may be partial view, the price point of less than $50 for a show (like The Music Man!) is enticing for someone on a budget. Just keep an eye out for reports of when to get there. Some shows have lines starting hours before the box office opens (again, The Music Man), while others are easier to obtain (Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theater has an Access25 program about two weeks before the first performance of their show.)

The view from standing room at the Majestic Theatre.
The view from standing room at the Majestic Theatre.
(© wallacebway0219)

6. Standing Room

Standing Room is also available for some productions at the discretion of the box office, and usually only if a performance is sold out. This is another great opportunity to see a show at a reduced cost, but only if you feel confident standing for an extended period. Some shows may allow you to sit at intermission, but again, this varies by house. For the budget-conscious theater enthusiast, the aching legs and back might be worth it at the price, and the views are still quite good.

7. TDF

If you qualify for a membership with the Theater Development Fund, you can get great tickets at lower prices when inventory is available. You won't get a seat location until you pick up the tickets, but it's a great way to get a deal and also support a great cause!

The TKTS booth is at the northern end of Times Square.
The TKTS booth is at the northern end of Times Square.
(© Tricia Baron)

8. TKTS Booth

As a savvy theatergoer, TKTS is usually one of my last resorts for a deal, because even at 50%, the prices can still be steep. However, it is easier to find a ton of variety and bigger named shows on the board, more so than any other option here. The plus side is that if you're willing to pay a bit more and buy here, you might be in some of the best seats in the house! This is also for the patient theatergoer, as TKTS sells same day or next day matinee tickets only. If you like to have your tickets before your trip, waiting till the day of can be nerve-racking.

And there you have it, my secrets to getting great deals and ways to see more shows without breaking the bank. While it may take some time, effort, and a lot of cross referencing to find the best deal, being able to see more shows (or repeatedly see your favorites!) is always tempting for theater fans. Now, get out there and score some deals!