Posts Tagged ‘broadway’

Broadway Discounts Are a Millennial Student’s Best Friend Series Part 3: Rushes, Deals and Lotteries, oh my!

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

It’s not just about having sharp eyes for deals. It’s all about luck and timing to increase the odds.

Sometimes TDF or TKTS doesn’t do for you. Luck be a lady tonight, let us talk about other deals, rushes, and lotteries.

Mark your calendars and alerts for:

NYC Broadway Week Deal

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Around early September and February, it’s the semi-annual Broadway Week! This means theatre producers are releasing two-for-one ticket deals for a time frame. Snagging an extra ticket is a magnificent bargain gift for your Broadway buddy–or relatives to introduce theatre too.

If you’re on a stricter budget, split the cost of the one-ticket price between your Broadway buddy and enjoy your two tickets together. If you’re paying the whole price out of your own credit card, have your friend reimburse you through Venmo. (Make sure they’re trustworthy.)

Broadway Week happens twice a year, so exploit it when it comes around. Tickets sell out fast.

Rush Tickets

Profit is a full house. When there are empty seats, theaters scramble to get them sold and filled.

The TKTS booth is a popular place to hunt for rush tickets, but some theaters sell rush directly from their own box office. Go to a production’s personalized websites and see when $30 rush tickets are available. Rush tickets often are available 2 hours before showing, but some buyers are lucky to just walk up to a window 10 minutes before curtain and obtain a rush.

Sometimes rush is offered at the crack of dawn right when box office opens. I made the mistake of chancing that A Band’s Visit might offer rush only two hours before a showing. But once I reached the booth, I was told there was none and rush were actually sold in the morning.

The free TodayTix app can inform you of available rush tickets through notifications. Rush for Hello Dolly can amount to $39 seats.

A referral code of TodayTix

A referral code of TodayTix

Bonus Hack: You’ll get a referral code when you sign up on Today Tix. Post your referral code on your Twitter and Facebook. Find a Broadway buddy who is also on TodayTix and use their referral code to get $10 credit when purchasing, and tell them to use your referral code for credit.

 

In-Person Lotteries

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Many years ago, I lingered in a crowd of fans at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre to enter my name into the then hottest-Broadway Best Musical Tony Award-winning Book of Mormon lottery for discounted seats, with up to two tickets for each entry. Alas, Heaven did not smile upon me and my name wasn’t drawn.

Some high-demand productions conduct an in-person raffle at their theatre doors, usually in the range of $30-40. While this is becoming a thing of the past (thanks, digital age), some theaters still operate in-person lotteries. As of 2018, Book of Mormon still conducts in-person lotteries (now $37 tickets) while also supplementing it with digital.

Digital may save us the inconvenience of going outside. But the wonderful thing about in-person lotteries is the atmosphere of community and the suspense of hearing your name called out. You can insert one entry for up to two tickets. To increase the odds, bring your Broadway buddy so they can slip in a 2-ticket entry.

Warning: DO NOT enter your name twice in the raffle. Not just because you will get caught because they do double-check for double-entry. That’s cheating and not fair to the other participants. The theatre will ensure that you slipped in only one entry form. Sometimes a well-intended friend or family member might throw in another entry card for you, but make sure they don’t. There is a horror story of a disappointed girl when her friend threw her name twice into the raffle without her consent, disqualifying her from claiming tickets.

Digital Lotteries

Ah, technology, enabling us to do tasks from the sinking comfort of the sofa or bed. If you’re not a fan of snow slipping into your boots or the sun beating down on you, digital is your thing.

The miracle with a production like Book of Mormon is that it holds its own digital lottery and in-person raffles, and you can enter both to bolster your odds.

Each production can hold their own digital lotteries, including Phantom of the OperaSchool of RockAnastasia.

Broadway Direct Lotteries online hold lotteries for $30-$40 seatings. A friend testified that he won a total of six times: from Willy Wonka (which is closed), to Wicked, to Lion King.

Ham4Ham Lottery: The Hamilton app has a lottery for  the coveted $10 tickets, ironically the cheapest lottery tickets around for a notoriously high-demand production. Also, it has a notification system.

Not all lotteries can offer smartphone notifications like the Hamilton app. It’s up to you to check each production for the lottery opening times. Set alerts on your smartphone to remind you to submit your entries. So when you lug yourself out of bed, you’re getting your shot and you ain’t throwing it away. A win can just be a few finger taps away.

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Someday, I’ll be in the room where it happens.

Playbill has more info on where to find rushes and lotteries for each currently-running production.

By Caroline Cao


Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York. When she’s not seeing a Broadway production, she’s buried in her nonfiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets. She chronicles the quirks of New York living and writing, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies DeathThe Mary SueFilm School Rejectsand The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Broadway Discounts Are a Millennial Student’s Best Friend Series Part 2: TKTS Booth at Times Square

Monday, January 29th, 2018

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If you have the will to lug yourself out of bed and put on some pants, consider hunting for Broadway deals in the outdoor glittering lights of Times Square. Convince yourself to snap your laptop shut.

In Part 1, I discussed purchasing tickets over TDF online as an introvert. Although I prefer the indoor joys of ordering discount tickets on TDF online, online does not have everything available. I have my eyes peeled for affordable deals on Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen, but I rarely see them online. If you’re not a fan of paying the TDF membership fee, take a trip to the TKTS booths for same-day discounts.

For simplicity sake, this blog will focus on the main Times Square booth. There are also three other booths at the South Street Seaport, Lincoln Center, and Downtown Brooklyn. But Times Square booth yields the most variety of features.

Pass the costumed Marvel heroes and Disney icons beckoning tourists for photos, the Times Square TKTS booth is located underneath the Glowing Ruby-Red Stairs at 47th Street. It’s easily accessible through the red-1 train line on the 50th street stop.

red stairs

Photo provided by the Theatre Development Fund

Compared to TDF membership purchases, where seating arrangement is a wild card once you pick up your ticket at the box office, TKTS allows you to gauge your seating arrangement at the booth.

Set a free day to go bargain hunting, preferably on a Friday or weekends. In case you don’t find the bargain you want, set up a backup plan, like eating out or seeing a movie or just walking around Times Square.

Set a budget: How much are you willing to spend? Is there a show that’s difficult to access that you’re willing to pay a 20% discount for? (Sorry, no Hamilton but Phantom of the Opera can pop up) Personally, I would aim for 50% deals. But some deals are only 20-30%. I remember getting a $100 offer for the high-demand Once On This Island revival and turning it down.

The Times Square booth hours. 

For Evening Performances:

Monday – Saturday: 3:00pm – 8:00pm

(Tuesday starts at 2:00pm)

Sunday: 3:00pm – 7:00pm

 

For Matinee Performances:

Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday: 10:00am – 2:00pm

Sunday: 11:00am – 3:00pm

 

Downloading the free TKTS app allows you to track shows available at the booth. I wish I could purchase discounts from the app, but that’s not how it works. It will alert you of the show availability, but if you see something you want, it’s up to you to physically purchase it at the booth. So run!

 

The TKTS app

The TKTS app

 

Come early.

Come an hour early because you can expect the line to be already occupied with New Yorkers or tourists with their eyes peeled for discounts.

But if there’s nothing to pique your interests…

Come later.

While I prefer going early to catch the expansive deals, Thoughtco offers this hack: Arrive in line closer to the show time when unsold house seats are released. Lines are said to be shorter and surprises may pop up. So if you came early and find nothing remarkable, take a walk around Times Square and then return perhaps about 30 minutes before the standard show time of 8:00 pm (2:00/3:00 pm on matinee). If you get a desired deal, make a dash to the appropriate theatre that’s playing your show (so have your Google Map ready to ascertain theatre address).

The Times Square booth also has this perk: The TKTS 7-Day Fast Pass. Within 7 days of your TKTS purchase, show your ticket stub, and stroll right up to Window #1, thereby skipping the lines.

For non-musical play viewers: Window #12 is the “Play Only” window. Plays are sold at all windows, but you can go directly to that window for a much shorter wait if you’re not into musicals. (I’ll personally recommend the long-running Play That Goes Wrong.)

To summarize:

Pros: Getting sun, shot at options that aren’t available online, the sense of community being around theatre-goers, getting a FastPass with a ticket stub.

Cons: Long lines, freezing in cold winters, boiling in the hot sun, the anxiety of not getting your desired deal, deals in constant flux.

One last caution: Avoid the scalpers wandering at the line, who will tempt you with fake bargains.

Happy bargain hunting in the sun or snow, preferably the former.

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Sources:


Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York. When she’s not seeing a Broadway production, she’s buried in her nonfiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets. She chronicles the quirks of New York living and writing, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies DeathThe Mary SueFilm School Rejectsand The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Broadway Discounts Are a Millennial Student’s Best Friend Series Part 1: Theatre Development Fund

Friday, January 19th, 2018

broadway lights-2

Broadway doesn’t come cheap. If I were a millionaire, my first impulse would be to snag every full-price Broadway ticket.

In the Broadway musical adaptation of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the showstopper “Great Big Stuff” hurls out this laughter-inducing quip: “I can finally afford to see a Broadway show!”

When I was living in Houston, Texas, I dreamed of faraway land of fantasies and wonder of Hamilton and the Comet of 1812. But they’re too pricey to fly from city just to catch a show. Because current productions aren’t available on DVD or Netflix, they aren’t easy to access.

Now having moved to New York City, I confronted plenty of tricks and trades of bargains. It’s not perfect: There are shows too far out of the reach (Curse you, sold out and overpriced Hamilton tickets!) but a student status and familiarity of deals can assuage your thrifty habits.

In 2014, LA Weekly cited that an average Broadway ticket costs a daunting $100, but truth is, ticket prices are often in flux. That does not account for high-demand productions like Hamilton, Hello Dolly, or Once Upon an Island. As a graduate student, I don’t have my wallet full enough to buy $100 tickets on a whim.

First, ask yourself how much you are willing to spend per month on tickets.

My personal goal: 2-3 shows a month. I aim for about $50 or below for each ticket. I’ll have money left for groceries.

Theatre Development Fund Membership

If you’re a student or recent graduate, you are eligible for membership with the Theatre Development Fund (the TDF).

Prices for Broadway productions are often fixed. As of my 2017-2018 membership, I encountered these prices:

For musicals: $51

For plays: $45-46

Yearly membership fee is $35, which is a fair trade off to access $51 tickets, about 50% of the average ticket price.

(Psssss, I Googled the promo code MetroNY on Retail Me Not, which knocked my first-year membership fee down to $29. If this code had expired by the time you read this, Google around to hunt for an additional code.)

I give fair warning: TDF seat selection is a wild card. Before a purchase, it will warn you whether seating is in mezzanine or balcony, but you will not be informed of the exact seating arrangement once you order your ticket. I can credit it for not shoving me at the far rear or the balcony. Once in a while, I got sweet deal of center orchestra seating for School of Rock or center mezzanine for the Cats revival for a grander scope.

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My scope of the mezzanine view of the Cats revival, courtesy of TDF.

Every so often, I was planted at the far side of mezzanine, but a decently close to the front. At one point for Anastasia, TDF put me on the front-row orchestra. Sounds wonderful but there was this catch: It was the orchestra-left side farthest from the center, an angled neck-straining viewing experience.

I find that TDF discount has more variety of Broadway productions than other sites that offers discounts for $51. Average traditional student discounts of $51 often regulates you to the third-floor balcony seating, which I find to be far enough to deem “riiiiiiip-off.” But TDF’s $51 musical tickets have situated me in orchestra or the second-floor mezzanine and never placed me on the 3rd floor balcony. If you are chancing on a balcony seat, the purchase will warn you beforehand. Long-running and high-demand shows like Phantom of the Opera or Hello Dolly will appear, but don’t expect Wicked, The Lion King, or Hamilton to magically pop up one day (I’m keeping my eyes peeled for those).

Ordering through TDF online is ideal for a shut-in introvert like me. I don’t have to rush to a physical location or wait in line for the suspense of obtaining bargains. I never expect the TDF price to radically hike up. Few times, they have sales for tomorrow’s performances. It’s also great for long-term planning. Depending on the available line-up of show dates, TDF allows me to plan ahead with show-dates. I got my Spongebob Squarepants ticket a few weeks before I saw that nautical delight.

Be prepare to email a photo of your student ID or enrollment form as proof of eligibility at POE@tdf.org within 10 days of starting membership.

Up next: TKTS Booths and other discount methods

Sources:

– https://www.tdf.org/

By Caroline Cao


Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York. When she’s not seeing a Broadway production, she’s buried in her nonfiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets. She chronicles the quirks of New York living and writing, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies Death, The Mary SueFilm School Rejectsand The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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