Almost everyone living in and visiting New York wants to see Broadway, but the tickets are incredibly expensive. Turns out, with a little luck, you can see a Broadway show for just $50. That's a steal compared to the typical running rate of the cheapest seats at $150 and up.
Broadway rush tickets actually began with Rent. This famous musical sold all of its seats in the first two rows for $20 to whomever got to the box office first on the day of the performance. Now, almost every Broadway show has affordable ticket options. Here's how to save money on Broadway tickets for your next vacation or for a great weekend out.
1. Try your luck with a lottery
Many Broadway shows host either an in-person or online ticket lottery for every performance. The price can vary based on the show, but it's never more than $50. Of course, the more popular shows are going to be harder to win. Hamilton is the most popular Broadway show of the moment. Even though its lottery tickets are by far the cheapest at $10, your chances of winning them are pretty low based on the sheer amount of people entering.
Because the ticket lottery is based on chance, you're not guaranteed to get tickets. And many shows also limit how many tickets you can purchase if you win. If you're visiting New York with a group, make sure each of you enters the lottery — just in case. The lotteries give you a chance to see your favorite Broadway show, but might not be the best option if you're planning your trip down to the minute.
2. Get up early for rush tickets
Many Broadway shows also offer rush tickets. These are tickets available in the morning before the matinee and evening shows. Most box offices open at 10 a.m. to begin selling tickets for that day's performances. But if you really want to secure your ticket, you should probably show up much earlier than that — especially if the show is particularly popular.
Several shows also have a limit on how early you can show up. Some shows limit the arrival time to 9 a.m., but others don't have a specific arrival time at all. And the shows can pick and choose which performances have rush tickets available. If you're planning to buy rush tickets, you should do your research before you show up at the box office.
3. Wear comfortable shoes for standing room only
If you don't mind standing for a couple hours, standing room only tickets are another great affordable option. These are often even cheaper than rush tickets, but are only available if a performance is sold out. For many popular shows like Chicago or Phantom of the Opera, you could probably reasonably purchase standing room only tickets the morning of your desired performance date. Many shows also have standing positions near the back of the orchestra, which is pretty close to the stage.
However, these tickets are often fewer in number than rush. Theaters have a limit on how many they can provide due to fire codes. And, depending on the show, you could be standing near the back of the auditorium. Standing for two to three hours isn't ideal for everyone.
4. Really desperate? Buy tickets well in advance
If you desperately want to see a show and don't want to wait until the day of the performance to get tickets, go ahead and pay for a full price ticket. Get this ticket well in advance, like a month or two. You'll probably be paying over $100, but that's probably less than future purchasers buying a week or two before the performance. Especially for popular shows, ticket prices tend to go up as the performance date nears. You'll have a guaranteed seat without having to rush to the box office early in the morning or try your luck with a lottery.