It’s a common holiday dilemma: your Christmas list is a mile long and you haven’t started shopping yet. You’re frantically googling “How many days before Christmas?” to see if presents will ship in time. Luckily there’s a showstopping gift option you can get at the last minute: discounted Broadway tickets. Here are seven tips to help you save money on the hottest tickets of the season.
7 Ways to Get Discounted Broadway Tickets Before Christmas
Buy Tickets from Discount Sites
Instead of buying full-price tickets from Ticketmaster or the box office, check discount sites for cheap Broadway seats. TodayTix, NYTix, and BroadwayBox are all good places to look for affordable theater tickets. You can score discounts as high as 50% off, allowing you to see a Broadway classic or a hot new musical on a budget. These sites also allow you to book tickets far in advance, giving you more scheduling flexibility than same-day ticket services like TKTS.
Apply for a Theatre Development Fund Membership
The Theatre Development Fund is committed to making theater accessible for all. The organization sells discounted Broadway and Off Broadway tickets online, sometimes days or weeks before a performance. Tickets usually range in price from $11 to $59.50, but you must be a TDF member in order to purchase them.
Keep in mind that only certain groups are eligible to become members of TDF, including but not limited to teachers, students, retirees, veterans, and artists. Check out the full list of member categories to see if you qualify. After you submit proof of eligibility and get accepted, you’ll have to pay a small membership fee of around $42 (although there are sometimes discount codes available).
Even if you don’t qualify, you may know someone who’s a member of TDF. Members can purchase multiple tickets at a time, so you may be able to score affordable seats through a friend or family member.
Try Your Luck With Lotteries Before Christmas
A creative way to try and secure cheap Broadway tickets this holiday season is to join lotteries. Many popular shows such as Hamilton and The Book of Mormon allow you to enter a drawing to win discounted tickets for upcoming performances. Keep in mind that this isn’t a true giveaway because you have to pay for any seats you win. But the cost of lottery tickets is usually much lower than regular price.
Each lottery may also have certain rules you have to follow. For example, Hamilton requires you to claim and pay for your tickets within two hours of being notified of your win, so you have to act fast! Playbill has a helpful list of all the Broadway lotteries and entry rules so you can try to score discounted seats this holiday season.
Get Rush or Standing Room Only Tickets
You can also try your luck at the box office on the day of the performance that you want to see. Sometimes you can get discounted “rush tickets” by going to the box office as soon as it opens in the morning. If you’re capable of standing during the performance, you can also ask if there are any affordable standing room only tickets.
Both of these options are usually same-day tickets, so you can’t buy them in advance. And there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to secure rush tickets, especially if it’s a popular sold-out show. Check out Playbill’s guide to learn more about rush tickets and which shows usually offer them.
Get Same-Day Tickets from TKTS
TKTS is a same-day discount ticket service that’s also run by the Theatre Development Fund. It allows anyone to purchase last-minute Broadway tickets for up to half off.
The tickets are all for performances happening the same day or the next day, so you can’t buy them in advance. There’s also no way to purchase them online. So you have to visit one of the TKTS booths in NYC and wait in pretty long lines. If it’s cold, I suggest bundling up and bringing some hot chocolate in a thermos!
Currently there are two TKTS booths, one in Times Square and the other in Lincoln center. Keep in mind that some shows may not be offering discounted tickets. So if you have your heart set on seeing a certain musical, TKTS may not be the best option for you. Tickets are also available in limited quantities, so it helps to get there early. There’s an app that shows you all the tickets currently for sale, which can help you decide if it’s worth heading to TKTS that day or not.
Although you can’t put TKTS tickets under the tree, you can let your loved one know that you’ll take them there as a gift. Consider buying them some merch from their favorite Broadway show to go along with this present. That way they still have something to open on Christmas Day.
Give a Gift Card as a Christmas Present
To get cheap Broadway seats, you often have to stand in line at TKTS or the box office on the day of the performance. As a result, it may be hard to score affordable tickets ahead of time to give as Christmas gifts.
However, you can always give your loved one a TKTS gift certificate, which they can use like cash at one of the TKTS booths in NYC. You can even gift someone a Theatre Development Fund membership to give them access to the discounted tickets the organization sells. Since memberships only cost around $42, this is an affordable present for a Broadway lover.
Many discount ticket sites like TodayTix also offer digital gift cards. This is another great option if you can’t afford to cover the entire cost of a ticket. You’ll get to choose a dollar amount that works for your budget so you don’t overextend yourself.
Try the Resale Market
Although resale tickets are often more expensive than face value, sometimes you can find last-minute deals. Resellers may heavily discount same-day tickets to avoid taking a total loss on seats they already purchased.
You should also check sites like Ticketmaster for face value tickets in the days leading up to the performance. House seats reserved for special guests may be put on sale a few days before the show if they’re no longer needed. High-priced premium seats that didn’t sell are sometimes downgraded to regular tickets around the same time, so keep your eyes peeled.
How many days are there before Christmas? It feels like the answer is not enough! If you’re behind on your holiday shopping, luckily there’s still time to buy discounted Broadway tickets online or in person to give as Christmas gifts.
How many days before Christmas do you start your holiday shopping? What are your favorite last-minute gift ideas? Let us know in the comments!
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