The Drama of Half-Price Theater Tickets
Blue Man Group in Boston? The hilarious Doyle and Debbie Show in Chicago? The nostalgic 1940’s Radio Hour in L.A.? Billy Elliot in NYC?
Theater ticket prices have escalated over the past decade while incomes have dropped. But if you need theater to live, as many do, you’ll find them one way or another. Many regional theaters provide opportunities to run concessions or usher in exchange for entry to a play or musical—but that generally means committing to one company or juggling schedules. And you can’t really bring along a friend. The options for live entertainment have expanded to include everything from comedy acts and IMAX to concerts and dance companies.
Half-price tickets came of age in 1968, most famously, in Times Square to fill unsold Broadway shows with last-minute tickets to wandering tourists and savvy locals. The service has been replicated across the country to the thrill of performing arts lovers everywhere. Most services provide a link or access to group ticket purchases as well.
The Theatre Development Fund in New York is a nonprofit organization to help the performing arts community. They work in conjunction with the TKTS booth that sells tickets to a variety of performing arts events throughout New York City. There are three locations to buy seats. All locations accept credit cards (American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa), cash, travelers checks or TKTS gift certificates. All locations sell tickets at 50%, 40%, 30% and 20% off full-price (plus a $4.00 per ticket service charge, which helps support other TDF services and programs.
Here is a brief rundown of what you can get in NYC, and where:
-Times Square Booth sells day-of-performance tickets only.
-South Street Seaport Booth near Battery Park sells tickets to evening performances on the day of the performance and matinee tickets the day before the performance.
-Downtown Brooklyn Booth sells tickets to evening performances on the day of the performance, and matinee tickets the day before the performance as well tickets to Brooklyn performing arts events.
Similar services have cropped up all over the country with some variations on the theme. In some cases, such as in San Francisco, some discount tickets are even available online. Tix Bay Area is a not-for-profit discount tickets vendor in San Francisco. Tix offers discounted and full price tickets to a variety of events through the TIX Booth in Union Square and online. Offerings include theatre, dance, music, sports and tours.
In Boston BosTix offers discounted tickets to theater, music, dance and comedy in the region from booths at Faneuil Hall Marketplace or Copley Square. It also sells full-price tickets for tours, IMAX and other attractions, and is a Ticketmaster outlet.
But look, there’s more. The following cities all have discount ticket services for award-winning local theaters, touring Broadway productions, events and more:
Los Angeles- LA Stage TIX
San Diego- San Diego Arts Tix
Minneapolis- TC Ticket Insider
Washington D.C.- TICKETPLACE