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Broadway on a Budget: The Guide
If you were to see two shows on Broadway, you’ll spend about $250.
Last November, I saw 7 shows for that price.
When I visit New York City, my priority is always Broadway. My theatre degree practically screams at me from my desk before I leave, reminding me of where my true loyalties lie. Because I am addicted to seeing as many shows as I can, I had to find a way to do it on the cheap (because ain’t nobody got that kind of money.)
Here’s the breakdown of what shows I went to, where I sat, and how much money I spent:
Kinky Boots, Wednesday night: $37 (rush, box seats)
Oh Hello!, Friday night: $37 (rush, front row of first mezzanine)
Falsettos, Saturday matinee: $42 (rush, front row of mezzanine)
Heisenberg: $27 (student rush, middle of the house)
Fiddler on the Roof, Sunday matinee: $37 (rush, orchestra seat)
Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, Sunday night: $40 (rush, orchestra seat)
Dead Poets Society (Off-Broadway), Tuesday night: $20 (student rush, front row)
Crazy right? Here’s how you do it.
If you’re a New Yorker, you probably know about rush tickets. But if you’re visiting New York, I can see you booking it to that red TKTS booth. And trust me, you’re still going to overpay.
The way to get cheap tickets is to rush a show. Rush policies differ depending on the venue and show, but most work like this: arrive 1 -2 hours before curtain, and ask the box office about rush seats. This is how I saw the majority of shows, as rush tickets cost a mere $37-42. Some shows only do student rush (like Manhattan Theatre Club) and some only take cash (again, MTC and a few others.)
The key to cheap tickets? Not being picky. You should definitely have a list of shows you want to see, but that list should be expansive. While you should always enter the pre-show lottery (more on this to come in another post,) your chances of winning are slim. And if it’s Hamilton, your chance is non-existent.
Everything on Broadway is going to be great, I promise (almost.) There’s a reason why it’s on Broadway. Because all the shows are within about 10 blocks of each other, it’s important to be quick. Stealth is your friend. And if you have a physical friend with you, even better. Divide and conquer — you get 5 blocks, s/he gets the other 5. Go up to the box office (but please do your research as some shows may be closed that day, while some do not offer rush seats.) Kindly ask, “Do you have any rush seats available?” They’re going to tell you one of three things: we don’t have rush tickets (time to hop to another show!), we have rush tickets (but they’re like $70), or we have rush tickets at exactly the price you’re looking for (usually somewhere between $35-45!) Bingo! You have a better chance of getting rush seats on weekdays (especially matinees.)
Other tips for hacking Broadway? Join the conversation on social media!