1. Buy a ticket first, then skip the lines on Times Square by purchasing more tickets within 7 days
It’s counter-intuitive, I know. But the lines in front of TKTS scarlet-red booth stairs are terrible; they grow longer and longer and longer.
So the execs who run the TKTS booth are offering a time-saving salve for people with less money to burn. It is called a fast pass. (Cumbersome crypto-name: TKTS 7-Day Fast Pass). It is designed to allow patrons to skip the lines at the booth if they have already made a TKTS purchase.
All they need to do is bring the TKTS stub to the booth within seven days of that ticket’s date. Walk up to Window No. 1 to secure those same-day discounts. Patrons avoid the horribly long lines if they are hungry to see more shows or invite more family and friends to accompany you. (They can buy tickets for future shows at Window No. 1, too, but they pay full price).
The Theater Development Fund (aka TDF), which operates the TKTS booth, feels that this incentive will help visitors who are in town for a limited period of time to see more shows during their trip.
2. Buy show tickets downtown. Or schlep to Brooklyn.
Don’t waste time forming sweaty lines on Times Square when you could be at home breast-feeding your baby or in a yoga studio performing downward-facing dog. Instead, take the subway to Wall Street, or haul your ass to Brooklyn, and then buy your tickets there.
It’s not pimping TDF to report that it has reopened a TKTS satellite booth at a temporary location at the corner of Fulton and South Streets. After sustaining damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the permanent TKTS book in the Seaport Marketplace (at the corner of Front and John Streets) is still being renovated. The temporary booth is a pop-up retail container, a convenience to those who work and live in Downtown Manhattan.
TDF also operates another satellite TKTS booth in Downtown Brooklyn located at 1 MetroTech Center. At these two locations, lines are shorter. You can check the free TKTS app on your mobile phone to see what’s on sale, and still have time to do a cardio spin and a quick shower after grabbing same-day matinee or evening tickets for up to 50% off full price.
Here’s the problem, however: The fast pass service (mentioned above) works only for the red booths on Times Square. It’s not available for either the Brooklyn or Seaport booths, Come to think of it, how inconsiderate of them not to make fast passes available to downtown hipsters, Brooklynites and the rest of us intrepid bargain hunters!
3. Sign up for a college — then rush straight to the box office
Go back to school and get re-trained (which you will need anyway to get ahead at work) … and then treat your student ID as a discount card. Think of it as a two-in-one investment in your future.
Student-rush tickets are priced low, low, low, low. Every night at Romeo and Juliet on Broadway, 100 students and educators can get to see Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad for a whopping $20.
Unless you want to see Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto in the Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’s classic drama The Glass Menagarie. Their policy for this 17-week engagement at the Booth Theatre is to pick pockets at $35 each.
Then again, Cherry Jones is one of the greatest actors of her generation. I mean, really! She’s worth the extra effing 10 bucks.
Remember: You need to show a valid student ID at the box office. Students can be verified in advance to order tickets online exclusively through TIX4STUDENTS.COM. But watch out: The site will tack on a “facility fee,” “service changes” and “delivery charges.” That shit is never discounted on Broadway.
4. Book a Broadway cameo as an usher
You can volunteer as an usher. You’ll need to call the box office several hours before the show begins to check if they’re “hiring.” Don’t worry if you are overqualified — for once you will not be rejected out of hand by the “recruiter.”
You take a brief training session before patrons arrive. After you’ve fulfilled your ushering duties, you can find a whoopee spot where the piano is hot — and you are free to enjoy you’re equally free Broadway show.
So slick your hair, and wear your buckle shoes, and all that jazz.
5. Hot for Extreme Discounts? It is better to Givenik than to receive
Broadway’s biggest business is Extreme Discounting. Sign up for daily emails and access to lists of discount codes at theater clubs and websites. These options go kaching, kaching through promises of cheap deals and free membership: BroadwayBox.com, its offshoot LunchTix.com, Playbill.com, TheaterMania.com (which has a paid service called the Gold Club that comes with perks), TravelZoo.com, and so on.
Ticket aggregators claim to be one-stop shopping sites. StubHub.com, SeatGeek.com and TickPick.com scour the web for the lowest or best seats on the web (including Ebay). They do the hard work for you (sometimes in real time). But without a celebrity spokesperson like Captain Kirk to lend an enduring sense of comedy and trust, it’s hard to believe these Priceline-wannabes can take bargain hunters where no dot-coms have gone before.
If you go gaga over Extreme Discounting methods, why not try Givenik.com? No doubt, this ticketing service offers mostly premiums seats and group sales. But it does have the virtue of donating 5% of every purchase to charities — even for the discounted tickets it does sell.
The impact of the 5% donations is huge. Local do-gooders, nonprofit troupes across the U.S. (not just New York), and educational institutions use it as a free, year-round funding mechanism. Last year Audra McDonald starred (and won the Tony Award for best actress) in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. To drum up donations, McDonald spoke up for the charity of her choice in her capacity as a “Givenik.com Ambassador.” Hopefully her campaign worked and made superfluous the need for them to crowd-source for funds via Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Granted, Givenik.com is hardly the most fool-proof way to buy cheap tickets for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. But why not see live theater for a Good Cause? As a givenik and a member of the 99 percent, you help make this cruel, cash-strapped world a more theater-loving place.
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