This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
How Much are Broadway Tickets?
To see a broadway show at full price will typically cost you $100+ per ticket. But the good news is if you are looking to buy Broadway tickets, there are plenty of bargains seats and Broadway show deals.
If you are dying to see a show (or two or three….) during your visit to NYC there are a lot of places to buy Broadway musical tickets without breaking the bank.
Here are my top 12 tips on how to get cheap Broadway tickets in NYC.
Tip #1: Enter an Online Broadway Show Lottery
Many of the most popular shows will have a broadway online lottery for tickets. The best way to find if a show has a lottery is to check their website.
If they have a lottery option, it will be linked from the purchase tickets page. They don’t typically try to hide it so it should be fairly easy to find. (A handful of shows use Lucky Seat if you want to check there.)
Broadway lottery ticket prices can vary from $10 – $40 (more than half price Broadway tickets!) and as the name suggests, they are not guaranteed! And typically, if selected, you are only able to purchase up to 2 tickets.
I’ve entered lotteries in both London and New York City and won, so it is possible. Although, I my win rate is very high so best not to get your hopes up too much.
Lottery terms are decided by each individual show and therefore not all the same, but typically you can enter the day before each performance. At most, you can enter the week before.
Entering simply involves submitting your name and email. The deadline to enter for a particular day will be clearly shown as will the deadline of notification.
Make note of that deadline because you will receive an email notifying you if you’ve won tickets and you’ll typically only have a few hours to claim and pay for your lottery tickets.
If you have the flexibility to see a show during the week or during a matinee, be sure to enter for these options! You’re more likely going to be able to win for some of the more off-peak performance times.
Tip #2: Broadway Rush Tickets NYC
Before you had an online lottery, you had what are known as broadway shows “rush” tickets.
Rush seat tickets, like the lottery, are a small selection of tickets available for that evening only. They are heavily discounted, not guaranteed and limited to 2 per person.
The difference to the lottery is that they are first come, first serve and can only be purchased at the box office. Cash is also the preferred payment method.
Note that depending on the popularity of a show, you may need to arrive before the box office opens to get in line. Rush tickets are also available for both matinee and evening performances.
To see a good overview of what shows are on Broadway and their preferred system check out NYTIX or Broadway for Broke People. You can also join Student Rush (you don’t have to be a student) for free. The site will provide all broadway rush policies as well as further money saving tips.
Tip #3 Purchase TKTS Tickets
If lottery or rush seats are working out for you, there is always TKTS to get your NYC theater tickets. This is the most tried and true way to get tickets at a discount.
There are 3 TKTS locations within the city- Times Square, South Street Seaport and Lincoln Center. Like the first two options, they offer same day broadway tickets for up to half off.
Ticket availability change throughout the day, so you’ll have to visit a TKTS broadway ticket booth and talk to an agent to get your broadway shows discount tickets.
TKTS is a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing the arts. They have been around for 40+ years so know a thing or two about broadway musicals. They also offer tickets to broadway plays, Off Broadway, dance, and music performances.
You can see TKTS shows real time listings here.
Tip #4: Search Discount Broadway Tickets Websites
There are discount websites for everything these days so you shouldn’t be surprised these exists for broadway. A quick google search of “discount broadway tickets nyc” will bring up a few optoins.
The best place to buy cheap broadway tickets online is TodayTix. You can filter by city, price and type of show narrowing it down to the options you are most interested in.
I purchased through this todaytix.com for a ticket to see Waitress in London. My ticket only cost about 45 GBP, which was 40% off a normal ticket price.
I didn’t have time to use it on my last visit to NYC as my schedule was already pretty full, but I checked the site almost everyday to keep up to date on my options. Ticket prices did vary a little bit from day to day, but mostly stayed steady throughout the week I checked.
Overall, there are some really great deals available online. Sites like this also give a good feel for all of your options without being too overwhelming.
Tip #5: Play Broadway Roulette
I learned about this while eating at Ellen’s Stardust Diner and it’s perfect for the general broadway theatre lover.
If deciding on a show is too overwhelming and you’re a bit of an adventure taker, Broadway Roulette has got you covered.
- You pick the day & pay $49 – $59 for your ticket(s) up front
- They pick the show.
- On the morning of the day you selected, they email you all the details and you get to see an amazing show!
No stress, no research. So you’re looking for the easiest way to see one of the best broadway shows today at a discount, I invite you to take a little gamble.
Update: I played Broadway Roulette and received tickets to see “Come From Away”. The process was easy and the anticipation of waiting to find out what I had won was more exciting than expected. Morning of, I received a text letting me know they were spinning the wheel and within an hour had my show details. My seat was in the last row of the Orchestra section. Overall, I found the process to be pretty fun and will probably use it again.
Update 2: I did use it again. I seriously love it so much! This time I got tickets to “Ain’t Too Proud”, a musical based on the Temptations. It also happened to be the day I recorded myself for the whole day. See how it went. 👇
Tip #6: Show your Student/Military/Senior Id
Oh how I miss being a student when it comes to discounts.
I never paid full-price for any show as a student whether it was a touring broadway show or a West End production when I lived in London.
I would typically walk straight into the theatre once the broadway box office opened and flashed my student id to purchase at the discounted rate. Some shows may even offer student rush tickets. Be sure to milk that student id for all it’s worth when it comes to student discount broadway tickets.
Tip #7: Buy Tickets with an Obstructed View
Many Broadway are old, like really old. It only adds to their charm and make the evening feel even more special, but in many of them, the structure is obstructive to a a patron’s view.
The seats are usually all the way over to the right or left of a section. And because you can’t see the full stage, they don’t charge full price.
I’ve sat in many of these seats and the amount of the stage that is obstructed varies, but it’s typically very minor. You may miss a character entrance or two, but there isn’t usually a lot of action happening on the part you can’t see anyway!
Tip #8: Attend Broadway Matinees and Weekday Performances
Off peak performances, those during the weekday or a matinee, are typically a little cheaper than Friday and Saturday performances.
I’ve attended many a matinee or weekday shows and the performances are always just as stellar and the house just as packed. If it fits into your schedule, these are good options to consider.
In fact, I won the lottery (tip #1) to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on a Wednesday and to see both parts back to back. There was not an empty seat in the house! These actors love what they do and never try to shortchange anyone’s experience, regardless of the day or time.
Tip #9: Purchase Tickets Early
Purchasing early or in the early stages of a show before it gets really popular can be kind to your wallet.
This isn’t always the case of course, as our Moulin Rouge tickets were still about $120 each during pre-sale and a year before our ticket date. But not all shows hit the gate running so look for those unsung heroes of Broadway that are getting some buzz but aren’t massive hits yet.
Many shows also start in Boston or Chicago to get some audience feedback and see how the show performs before hitting NYC. This was the case with Moulin Rouge and many, many other shows.
Other shows slowly and quietly work their way up through workshops, to Off Broadway, then finally finding a home on Broadway. So don’t be afraid to try out something new! You may just get to brag to all of your friends you’ve already seen the latest hit on stage.
Tip #10: Join the Will Call Club
As a recent member of the Will Call Club I’ll have to report back on the benefits of it, but so far it looks promising.
The Will Call Club membership costs $19.95 for the year but will be most beneficial for those living or often visiting Chicago or New York.
As part of your annual membership, you’ll have access to complimentary (see free broadway) tickets as part of their theater seat filling service for Broadway, Off-Broadway and other events in the city.
You are able to reserve up to 4 tickets per performance. While the tickets are complimentary there is a $5 processing fee for each ticket. If you’re interested in getting discounted new york theatre tickets and in the area often, a membership with the Will Call Club could pay off greatly.
Tip #11: See Broadway on Tour
If you are lucky enough to live in or near a city where Broadway tours stop, check them out! I was a frequent at tour shows when I lived in Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and Denver.
The actors that tour are just as good and talented as New York City actors. Many of them live in NYC and eventually make it to onto a Broadway stage. And I would argue a touring broadway actor’s job is even more grueling as they are still performing 7-8 shows/week while also moving to a new city every week or few weeks. And they still bring it!
Some of my most favorite performances have come from touring Broadway shows. And it gave me the opportunity to see The Newsies which isn’t in a permanent space in NYC anymore. The Newsies quickly skyrocketed into my Top 3 favorite musicals so I was so happy to be able to catch it somewhere.
Sometimes shows leave NYC but continue touring so just because it doesn’t have a permanent home doesn’t mean it isn’t still spectacular. I’m currently hoping to catch Anastasia on tour this year!
For a list of currently touring shows check out Broadway.org/tours. You can also google a quick “musicals near me” to see what may be passing through soon.
Tip #12: Visit Off Broadway
Just because they aren’t considered “Broadway” doesn’t mean they don’t have the talent to be there or won’t be there in the future. Sure, it’s hard to know which ones will make it, but if you just want to see a damn good show, off-broadway may be your ticket
Off-broadway is defined as a theatre with 100-499 seats available. Anything over 500 seats is considered Broadway. (And anything less 100 is off-off-broadway). Many shows start off-broadway and work their way up.
Sometimes you’ll find the small theatre can create a unique atmosphere and enhance the experience of a particular show. Not every show wants to be a Broadway show, and that’s ok. It doesn’t meant it’s not worth seeing.
There you are! Those are my top 12 tips for seeing a broadway on a budget.
I’ve personally used many of these methods and have been able to see really amazing shows at a discount.
If you are interested in seeing theatre at it’s best, but have been scared away by the cost, you aren’t alone. Hopefully this gives you some idea and options the next time you want to get broadway show tickets.
And just for fun… these are my favorite broadway shows (so far) and where I saw them.
- Hamilton: London, West End
- The Newsies: Denver, Broadway on Tour
- Les Miserables: London, West End
- Wicked: 5x – twice in Dallas, twice in Austin and once in London
- Moulin Rouge, the Musical: New York City, Broadway
Let me know in the comments your favorite show or the show you’re most dying to see?!