Broadway shows are notoriously expensive and as much as I love the Hamilton soundtrack, I can’t afford to not eat for month just to bop around to “Yorktown.”
And, while I haven’t been able to see Lin Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece quite yet, in my first week in New York I’ve won lottery tickets to a show a night for four days straight - and some nights more than one!
I almost hesitate to share my secrets because I really want to see Hamilton for $10 - more importantly, I believe the arts are for everyone should be accessible and not just for the 1%, so I want to share my tips and tricks for seeing the best shows for visitors and NY locals alike. If you’re balling on a budget and enjoy live entertainment - this post is for you.
Start by creating folder on your iPhone (if you’re anal about organization like I am) - label it something flamboyant and then download these:
Today-Tix: This is probably one I use the least, but it does have a super smooth interface and is a great place for the following a handful of specific shows and also is a solid resource if you need to plan further in advance and want confirmed seats at a discount. It’s great for:
- Finding shows you’ve never heard of, they list everything on-and-off Broadway as well as other one-off productions and limited engagements.
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ($20 per-half): Today Tix is the venue for “Friday Forty” which takes place (shockingly) every Friday and provides winners the opportunity to purchase tickets for both halves of the show for a total of $40. As the show is sold out for the next 12 months and tickets are currently running around $300 for each half… $40 is a total steal.
- Saint Joan ($30) and Sweeney Todd ($30): Every day you can enter to win tickets to the brilliant off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd. And while it doesn’t officially open until April 25th, the Broadway show Saint Joan - a production about Joan of Arc - the app releases limited rush seats each morning at 10 AM for the preview performances.
- Discounted confirmed tickets - way better than waiting at the TKTS booth in Time’s Square you can purchase same-day tickets, as well as tickets for many future performances, at a reasonable discount (though not as cheap as lottery) through the app.
When purchased through TodayTix, you meet one of their representatives outside the theatre. Seats are randomly assigned, although unlike lotteries (which can be anywhere) there’s typically an option to select a rough area of the theatre (mezzanine, orchestra, etc).
Broadway Lottery: Broadway Lottery is clunkier than Today-Tix but offers WAY more options. It puts all the digital Broadway lotteries in one place, and once you input your information it saves it, making entering each day way easier. Shows on the app include:
- School of Rock ($37)
- Anastasia ($42)
- Phantom of the Opera ($28)
- Springsteen on Broadway ($75 - Limited Engagement)
- Dear Evan Hansen ($40)
- Frozen ($30)
- Mean Girls ($43)
- Book of Mormon ($55)
- Bands Visit ($40)
- Kinky Boots ($42)
- Aladdin ($30)
- The Lion King ($30)
- Spongebob Squarepants ($30)
- Wicked ($35)
- Escape to Margaritaville ($40)
- My Fair Lady ($42)
- Angels in America ($37 per half, $78 for both - Limited Engagement)
Hamilton App: The “holy grail” of Broadway at the moment, Hamilton has it’s own app. You can enter everyday for performances the following day. Winners are able to purchase tickets for $10/each!
Stub-Hub: This can be a great resource for discounted tickets, periodically you’re able to find cheaper tickets than you could win in the lottery! Ticket prices usually plummet the day of the show as people no longer able to attend become desperate to sell.
Broadway for Broke People: www.broadwayforbrokepeople.com is a solid resource that lists all the shows as well as opportunities for in-person lotteries, student tickets, and rush. These often involve going directly to the theatre box-office the day of the show but additionally there are several shows that require entry through their own websites.
- TDF: The theatre development fund is an organization open to a wide range of people, including freelancers, artists, teachers, active military, and students. Once you join (and pay the $29 fee) you gain access to their discounted ticket program and are able to purchase tickets for less than box office prices in advance and online instead of waiting in line at their booths in midtown.
Especially these days, theatre and the arts are unique and important opportunities for us to come together to celebrate all it means to be human! I hope you're encouraged and empowered to know Broadway isn't as inaccessible as you may have thought. Oh, and if you ever win Hamilton tickets, I'm totally willing to be your plus one.