How To Buy Broadway Tickets on a Shoestring
The story of how one frugal guy got discount Broadway show tickets and kept his wife very happy – after all happy wife is a happy life!
Recently my wife asked me to buy some Broadway Tickets for the show Wicked in New York City. The show has been on Broadway for a years, so it’s not that new anymore – but it is still very popular. She had heard how great the show was and as our anniversary was coming up she wanted to see the show that everyone has been raving about.
Wicked won a bunch of the Tony awards when it first opened, so it’s a pretty popular show. I had read that the Tony Awards had changed their format in 2004 and a single show is only allowed to win 5 awards and no more. This means that the other Broadway shows have a chance of winning – it also means that these other Broadway shows can get some of the Broadway audience’s traffic, which keeps Broadway ticket sales booming. The weird thing is that the Broadway critics really dislike Wicked and describe it as “crass” and “lacking any true theatre merit”, but like many Broadway shows before it, Wicked has gone onto great success at the box office, despite these poor reviews – it is the populist winner. Given that it is very popular, I know discount Broadway tickets for this show may be a little hard to come by.
Apparently after the Tony awards come out, everyone flocks to the winning shows and disregards the rest of the shows – I say disregard, but really mean that the other audiences take a noticeable dive in sales.
It is only human nature that people want to see the top shows, but it become clear that Broadway has far more to offer than the VERY top show. And so began my hunt for cheap tickets for Wicked, I am not frugal to the point of shopping in the outlet malls, but I have always said that you should save money anytime you can, especially if the product is the same thing for different prices – it’s like being on a flight and finding that the guy next to you bought his flight for $100 less than you did. So a Broadway ticket for less than retail was my goal. My hunt started at the official Broadway show web site of the show. It didn’t shed much light on the tickets, just a glitzy flash page that didn’t even load properly so all the links weren’t clickable. When will web developers ever learn the rules that Flash should never be used on an entry page and never use them for links anywhere – just in case it breaks – obviously these developers didn’t read web site development for dummies. I know that Ticketmaster and Telecharge are the Broadway Ticket powerhouses. A Broadway show either sells their tickets thru one or the other powerhouse, but not both.
Ticketmaster, was the official vendor of Wicked Tickets. So off I went to their web site. I discovered that they have sold all the tickets for the next 3 months and were taking orders for the 4th month, that’s way beyond our anniversary and probably closer to a divorce than I would like, so I figured that I must be able to source these Broadway tickets from elsewhere.
The “elsewhere” turns out to be a whole underworld of alternative source of Broadway tickets –
First there are some show clubs like Hit show club, Theatre Development Fund and Fundtix. Then there are e-mail offers from Theatermania, Playbill and nytix.com. Then there are the periodicals that turn their hand to this, specifically, The New York Times, Time Out New York and the Village Voice. Even Time Warner Cable, the local Cable TV company, gets into the mix by sending out Broadway show offers inside the cable bills.
It was ultimately the discount Broadway ticket service called nytix.com (New York Show Tickets) that I found the most success with. The charge $4 for access for to their premium Broadway guide, but the wicked offer was in their “free offer” section. I did, however, sign up for the premium guide and found out their research was chock full of unique offers and discounts so it more than made up for the price of a Grande Starbucks Latte They had an enormous list of codes and offers that seemed to be an aggregation of all the other things I had seen plus a number of extra gems thrown in. It was one of these gems (a rather spiffy discount code actually) that not only scored me a ticket to Wicked but also got me a 40% discount because I was a AAA member – for the record I have never been an AAA member, I don’t even have a car but New York Show Tickets gave me this discount code that made me look I was. Now that’s a great discount offer.
The actual tickets in the orchestra section were $129.95 each, but with the discount code it brought the price of the tickets down to $57, a total saving on two tickets of $146! That saving paid for dinner before the show at that fancy-schmancy restaurant “The View” that spins around at the top of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, after dinner and three cocktails in, I was still making out better.
We picked up our tickets from the Gershwin Theatre Box Office at 222 West 51st Street in NYC – New York Show Tickets told us to buy the tickets directly from them at the box office, so we didn’t have to pay the Ticketmaster charges of $8 per ticket, which seems a little excessive as all they do is print the ticket (Or even send a Broadway e-ticket in some cases) If I got $8 for every telephone call I received, I would be a millionaire by now.
By the time we saw the show, which was close to the holidays, we were pretty excited and we are pleased with to see how good the location of our seats were – they were located in the right orchestra, about eight rows back from the stage – and real close to.. spoiler alert…the trap door that they use during the show.
I feel like the grinning cat who got the cream as my wife thanks me for the anniversary gift, little does she know we did at a discount – I save a bunch of money.
Now I have to work on getting a car, I wonder….
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