With the Tony Awards on June 7th bringing its annual national attention to the dozens of offerings on Broadway, it’s a good time to explain how in-the-know theatergoers get cheap, discounted or even virtually free tickets to New York shows that at full price could be $100 (depending on the show, the seat location, the day of performance, how much in advance you purchase them, etc.)

TKTS offers half-price tickets on the same day as the performance in booths at Times Square, the South Street Seaport and at the MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn.

TKTS is a project of the Theater Development Fund, TDF, which offers memberships that enable theatergoers to reserve shows in advance for as little as $20 a ticket for a low annual membership (If you join before the Tony Awards this year, it’s $20; afterwards, $27.50). The catch: not everybody can join. You must be a student, teacher, union member, senior, civil service employee, nonprofit or performing arts organization employee or a member of the armed forces or clergy.
Out-of-town visitors can get a national membership for just $12.
TDF also offers a special program for the disabled called TAP that includes special performances of top shows that have open captioning or are sign-language interpreted for the hearing-impaired, and audio description for the visually impaired, and theatergoers who use wheelchairs or guide dogs are accommodated without hassle.

Playbill, TheaterMania, and BroadwayBox.com offer “promotional codes” that provide sometimes steep discounts and there are “twofers” (coupons so named because they originally offered “two for” the price of one, though the discount is not usually as good these days) available in various locations in the theater district (such as hotels and other places where tourists congregate).

Theater brokers such as Stubhub sometimes offer tickets at discounted prices.

Theater box offices of some shows offer “rush tickets” or standing-room-only tickets on the day of the performance that can be discounted as much as 80 percent off the full price.

Audience Extras
offers a pair of free tickets to various shows in New York, including occasionally those on Broadway. How can it do this? As its Web site explains, “Audience Extras distributes complimentary tickets to its subscribers when a show is in previews, under-publicized, expecting a reviewer or celebrity to attend, or would like the benefit of a full house.” Initial cost is $115 for the year, and subscribers have to be able to act quickly.

Play By Play offers a similar service to what it calls its “dedicated group of professional seat-fillers” for $108 a year and $3.50 per ticket. There is a dress code depending on the show.

All of these are not just to Broadway shows, but include Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, dance and concert venues as well. But it’s Broadway that is normally most expensive – though, as Broadway producers will tell you, not any more expensive than rock concerts or baseball games .

Culture Getting tickets to Broadway for cheap or for free