I always wish to see live musicals from the day I’m in love with musical movies like Grease, Chicago, West Side Story and much more… I went to see my first ever musical Mama Mia when I study aboard in London and couldn’t get enough of it. Last year, my favourite musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch was rerunning by the original director/writer/composer/actor John Cameron Mitchell after a decade of its first off Broadway release so I made my first visit to the US/ the first time solo improvise trip to New York. Besides most of the method you can found to get the budget ticket on the internet like the TSTK Booth or buying on Timeout, here are some tips for getting them in both Broadway and Westend based on experiences:
1. Last Minute Walk-in
The time I went to NYC I first tried to get a cheap ticket over the TSTK booth where ticket are usually selling up to 50% off, however those tickets are half price of some nice seats so it was still a bit pricey for me. From my previous experience in London, I always came across a decent price for a musical ticket when I just walk-in the and ask for the cheapest ticket so I decided to try my luck in NYC as well. The staff told me to come to check 30 minutes right before the show goes on and I ended up watching 5 musicals in a week of their amazingly affordable price.
Apart from walk-in limited discount ticket for like students or senior, the last minute walk-in is only available 30 minutes before the show is on and only for off peek show time like the weekdays. These are lowest priced ticket for the seats left from selling during the day and varies with availability which usually gone real quick. So I suggest you wait at the ticket booth a little bit earlier to ask for the last minute ticket in time.
By using this advantage, I got to see Body Guard Musical in London for 25 pounds, 27-37 USD seeing Chicago, Jersey Boys and Les Miserable on Broadway. Sometimes these are seats on the front roll but don’t hesitate to get it, it’s indeed a great seat with view of the whole stage and I garreteer music won’t be over loud.
2. Special Seating
Not much people know about this type of ‘seat’, well, there are no seat technically and they are limited offer mostly on weekend afternoon show time. You will be still allocated a position for standing behind the back roll of the grand circle. If you don’t mind standing for 2 hours, it is a very good choice to see some popular show in a low price in case they don’t have the last minutes tickets.
Standing 2 hours were easier than I thought and time files while I was seeing the 2014’s Tony Award winner “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”, fun and credit to the amazing actor Jefferson Mays. Keep an eye on any empty seats since you can sit in if the seat is not occupied after the interval break.
The alternative choice for cheap seats are what they call ‘view may varies’ seat, which mean the view may be distracted by equipment like spot lights or amplifier. From my experience, the front roll of the second floor/mezzanine/upper circle is some nice seat indeed, that you can see the whole stage and big scaled choreography.
3. Free Lottery Ticket
If you are not desperate seeing a particular musical or want to give test your luck to win a free ticket, participating in the lottery is worth a go! Most of the show offer one free lottery ticket per each show, so you can join in by leaving your name and contact for the lottery draw mostly an hour and a half before the show starts. you have to be present while the lucky draw, so don’t plan to participate in multi draw which you will not be able to show up immediately to claim the free ticket.
Tips to have a higher chance of winning is aimed at some less big scaled musical like the Lion King or Phantom of the Opera to minimize the competition.
4. Special Screening
Special screening is held on some random weekday afternoon and for special occasion like booked for student visit or charity or pre show of a new cast. Keep an eye on the official website of each musicals and they will announce special offers on these date. This kind of show is usually offer by shows that have a bigger theatre and more popularity. I went to see the Lion King in London just for 35 pounds!