The college student's insider guide to finding rush, lottery and standing room tickets for Broadway shows
New York, NEW YORK--Did you miss the two-for-one tickets to Broadway shows during Broadway Week earlier this year? Even if you didn’t take advantage, fear not: it’s easier than you’d think to get tickets to shows in the city on a tight budget. In an effort to be more accessible, some of Broadway’s most popular shows have some type of ticket promotion: rush tickets, lottery tickets or standing room only tickets. Rush tickets and standing-room-only tickets—yes, the tickets are to stand in the theatre for the entirety of a performance—are sold the day of the show when the box office opens, whereas lottery tickets require an entry several hours before a performance. College students in particular can benefit from the student rush tickets, which can be the best bang-for-buck deal on Broadway.
Sophomore Angela Dunford recommends that students never pay full price and utilize the rush and lottery tickets. “I don’t think it’s worth it,” she said. “I paid $30 and got fourth row tickets for Newsies.” Dunford recommends that students try for Broadway lotteries on weeknights: “I went on a Monday night, and there were [roughly] 15 people in line and we all got tickets.”
The rush and standing-room-only tickets aren’t the best in the house, but it’s a great way to experience part of New York’s culture without breaking the bank. Below are some of the policies for Broadway’s most popular open-ended shows (shows with no pre-determined closing date):
Book of Mormon
Where: 230 W. 49th Street at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre
What: Book of Mormon offers limited lottery rush tickets for $32 at the theatre. Beginning two and a half hours before the performance people can enter the lottery by printing their names and number of tickets (limit two) on a card. The winners’ names are drawn at random two hours before the curtain. In order to win, winners must be present and pay with a valid ID and cash or valid credit card.
Where: 215 W. 49th Street at Ambassador Theatre
What: Chicago offers a limited amount of general rush tickets at the box office for $37. Tickets are limited two per person and are not available for Saturday evening shows. The show also offers standing room tickets for $27 at the box office the day of performance, but only when a performance is sold out.
Where: 245 W. 52nd Street at August Wilson Theatre
What: Jersey Boys offers student rush tickets for $27 each at the theatre. Tickets are available at the box office the day of a performance and are limited two per person per 30-day period. A valid non-expired student ID and government issued ID (such as a driver’s license) must be shown at the box office. Cash only.
Where: 302 W. 45th Street at Al Hirschfeld Theatre
What: There are a limited amount of lottery tickets available for each Kinky Boots performance for $37 at the box office. Lottery entries begin two and a half hours before performances, and winners names are drawn two hours before the curtain.
Where: 235 W. 44th Street at Broadhurst Theatre
What: Mamma Mia! offers rush seat tickets for $32 at the box office the day of performance. Tickets are limited two per customer. Standing room tickets are also offered two hours before the curtain for $27 at the box office on the day of the performance if it is sold out.
Matilda the Musical
Where: 225 W. 44th Street at Shubert Theatre
What: Matilda offers 20 lottery tickets for $27 for each performance. Lottery entries begin two and a half hours before the curtain, and winners are drawn two hours before. Winners must be present with a valid ID in order to win. Matilda also offers standing room tickets for $27 for sold-out performances.
Where: 208 W. 41st Street at Nederlander Theatre
What: There are $30 cash-only lottery tickets available for Newsies. Entries begin two and a half hours before the performance. The lottery is available for every performance. To qualify, winners must be present, and show a valid ID. Limit two tickets per winner. Standing room only tickets are available after the lottery for sold out performances for $30 each.
Where: 242 W. 45th Street at Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
What: Limited rush tickets are available for Once Tuesday-Thursday for $35, and Friday-Sunday for $40. Tickets are sold the day of the performance at the box office. Limit two tickets per person.
The Phantom of the Opera
Where: 245 W. 44th Street at Majestic Theatre
What: Rear Mezzanine tickets are available for $26.25 for Monday-Thursday performances. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, or through Telecharge. Phantom of the Opera also offers standing room tickets for $26.25 for sold out performances.
Where: 239 W. 45th Street at Music Box Theatre
What: Pippin offers a limited amount of rush tickets for $37 at the box office for that day’s performance. Tickets are limited one per person. Cash or credit is accepted.
Where: 222 W. 51st Street at George Gershwin Theatre
What: Wicked offers front row lottery rush tickets for each performance. Lottery entries are accepted two and a half hours before each performance, and the drawing is two hours before the curtain. Entries are limited to one per person, and two tickets per winner. Winners must be present and have a valid ID. Cash only.
For more deals, also checks out the TKTS discount booths operated by the Theatre Development Fund. They are located in at the red stairs in Times Square, Brooklyn and South Street Seaport. Tickets sold day-of at the booths are for show performances up to 50 percent off.
The rush and lottery tickets vary for every Broadway show, and they may not be offered for every show. Still, it can be a good investment to see other shows. Chair of Media, Culture, and the Arts Dr. Harry Bleatter offers his recommendations:
“I think students should try to see the Carole King musical, Beautiful. Great performance by Jessie Mueller, who plays King. Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway should be fun, and Idina Menzel is starring in If/Then.”
Discount show selections and prices are subject to change. For a comprehensive list of shows and policies for different Broadway shows, check websites such as playbill.com, or broadway.com for more information.