Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cheap Tix At TKTS

The Theatre Development Fund is the organization in charge of liquidating unsold seats for the current day's performances at almost all the theatres in New York City. They sell tickets to the musicals that Broadway is famous for at their TKTS booths but I've also bought drama and opera tickets there.

There are two sales locations. The most popular (and most crowded) is their new Times Square place in the middle of the theatre district at Broadway and 47th Street. Their other locations are at South Street Seaport on the lower east side of Manhattan at Front and John Streets, and in Brooklyn in 1 MetroTech Center at Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue.

If you have your heart set on seeing a red hot show or a new show that just opened, those performances are usually sold out so I'd recommend that you book your tickets in advance and pay full price. If, however, you're willing to see an established show you should visit a TKTS booth and pick up your tickets for anywhere from 25-50% off the day of the event.

Here's how it works:
— Before you go, check TKTS Availability on their web site to get an idea of what shows were available the previous week. This doesn't guarantee anything but should give you a hint on the availability of your selected show. If it wasn't available last week, it probably won't be available this week unless you get lucky and go at a particularly slow time. There are fewer available seats for weekend performances.
— TKTS puts tickets on sale at 10 a.m. for 2 p.m. matinees and at 3 p.m. for evening performances at their Times Square booth. At South Street Seaport and Brooklyn, evening performances and next-day matinees are on sale starting at 11 a.m.
— When you arrive, check the display board to see what shows are available for that day and time before you get in line. Make a priority list so you'll be able to quickly request a substitute if your top choices are sold out. As you would expect, smaller venues sell out faster. If you are with someone, save some time by having one person get in line and the other go to check the tote boards for availability.
— This process isn't a secret so expect long queues (hundreds of people), especially during nice weather.
— The earlier you arrive to line up, the better your chances that you'll get tickets to your favorite show and/or better seats.
— These windows are not set up for all day shopping. All tickets are ranked according to best available and are sold in that order. The tradeoff for getting seats at a 35-50% discount is that you lack the ability to spend all day with the agent planning your evening's itinerary.
— CASH ONLY. No checks or credit cards.

With all that said, enjoy your show and make a toast to me with a glass of champagne at intermission with the money you save!

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