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How to Get Broadway Show Tickets on a Budget

A couple budgets their Broadway visit. Theater & Shows

The New York City Theatre District in Midtown Manhattan is known for bringing some of the world’s most notable performances to life on the stage. And even though there are shows nearly every night of the week, it is still considered an exclusive experience given the average price of a theatre outing. 

Before you plan your next trip to the Theatre District, here are a few tips from TicketSmarter on how to enjoy Broadway on a budget whether you are new to town or are a seasoned professional.

What Affects Broadway Ticket Prices?

The two biggest factors affecting Broadway ticket prices are the popularity or success of the show and its location. Classic Broadway theatres are notoriously small and intimate making the competition fierce to find a seat.

A show that recently premiered or earned several award nominations is going to be the most difficult to see because of increased demand. If you want to take in one of these like The Lion King or Chicago, you should start planning weeks or months ahead to secure your tickets. This is especially true if you want to catch a Friday or Saturday night performance as these are most popular. Updates to the cast or limited runs with special celebrity guests will also affect the price of tickets since they will bring new fans into the fold. This includes the 2023 castings of Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford in Sweeney Todd, Jodie Comer in Prima Facie or Jessica Chastain in A Doll’s House.

As for seating, you will generally find that tickets closer to the front of the stage are the most expensive. Venues like the Gershwin Theatre, where you can see Wicked, are often comprised of two main sections: orchestra and mezzanine. The orchestra is closest to the stage while the mezzanine sits behind it or a part story above. Those sections are then split into left, right and center. Some theatres will also have a balcony section or box seats available as well. It is best to check the seating chart to understand each venue’s pricing structure. Standing Room Only seats, when available, are often the least expensive option though they are very limited.

Intersection at Broadway an W 40 st.

Opportunities to See Shows More Affordably

Dedicated theatre fans have a few different strategies for finding discount Broadway tickets, but most of them require a lot of patience. Rush and lottery tickets, for example, are released the day of the show and are distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis at the ticket window. Some theatres will also offer digital lotteries, but they require you to sign on at a specific time and “beat the crowd” to claim your seat. SRO seats, mentioned above, are generally only available for sold-out shows and are also sold in the morning.

If you want to go a more traditional route and are flexible with your plans, seeing a midweek matinee show may be a more affordable solution. These shows, including Hamilton at Richard Rodgers Theatre, typically start in the early afternoon which will eliminate audiences with day jobs and other commitments. This strategy may be especially helpful when seeing newer or more popular shows. 

The time of year that you are trying to see a show may affect prices too as the crowds die down a bit in winter and many producers offer discounts. Alternatively, there may be a premium charged during the busier summer and Christmas seasons.

Before planning your Broadway adventure, be sure to also calculate the other associated costs like travel to the theatre and parking as well as food and beverages. Most Broadway theatres are located between 41st and 52nd Streets which means a subway ride to either the 42nd or 50th Street stops will get you within a 15-minute walk of your venue. 

There are also several convenient bus stops scattered throughout the Theatre District as well. New York Theatre Guide has a great breakdown by theatre if you want more specific instructions. If you prefer to drive, make sure to review parking lots and garages in the area since street parking is limited. Apps like SpotHero can help you compare options and pre-arrange parking to ease your mind before the show.

When it comes to food and beverages, it may be wise to grab a bite to eat before you go as concessions can be pricey. A nightcap and discussion after the show could be a great way to end the evening too especially with the popular 7 p.m. curtains.

How to Get Tickets to Sold Out Broadway Shows

Finding last-minute Broadway show tickets can be a challenge, but it is possible through some of the methods mentioned above. Another big avenue is ticket resale sites like TicketSmarter. These are a big advantage if you are trying to figure out how to get tickets to sold-out shows, specifically. Since the term “sold-out” only refers to the main box office, that still means there could be seats available through brokers or secondary marketplaces. 

Since the general advice is to buy tickets several weeks or months in advance for a Broadway show, it is no surprise that a number of people end up with tickets they cannot use. These, in turn, make up a large portion of the tickets on the secondary market giving you another chance to see a show even if you missed out on the initial sales period.

Search by show, venue or even just browse the Broadway category to see what is available for the times you are available. 

Buy Broadway Tickets

It may be difficult to find cheap Broadway tickets, but you can still enjoy Broadway on a budget with these helpful tips. Whether you prefer a dazzling musical or an intimate monologue, secure your seats for the best Broadway shows playing right now with theatre tickets from TicketSmarter. And if you are planning a trip to New York for a memorable show, check HotelPlanner for exclusive New York travel deals.