How I Score Broadway Tickets for Under $50


One of my favorite things to do on an open weekend or evening is go to see a show on Broadway. Since moving to New York City last September, I’ve been able to see nine shows and have only paid full price for two tickets. I’m thrilled I’ve been able to figure out ways to find affordable tickets so I can go see shows somewhat often — it’s become something I absolutely love about living in the city!

Whenever I post that I’m seeing a show or won the ticket lottery, I always get a few questions on how it works or a comment about how I’ve been able to see so many shows. I admit I have had more luck with the lottery than I would’ve thought possible, and I’m crossing my fingers it doesn’t run out. Ticket lotteries are available across a few cities and it’s not the only way I’ve been able to find affordable tickets, so I wanted to pull together all my tips and tricks for finding tickets whether you’re looking to see shows in NYC or near you.


Aside from the two shows I paid full price for, I have spent no more than $50 on a ticket. It’s quite the bargain, especially since most full price tickets start above $100. I’ve lucked out in three ways: the lottery, rush tickets and last minute tickets on Seat Geek. There’s also a full list on Playbill that outlines by show what methods are available, but hoping this post is helpful in breaking down how each process works and settinng expectations for each. The next time you're looking to see a show, I hope you can use this breakdown to get great seats.

Ticket Lottery

This method has been my most successful way of getting tickets. I’ve won tickets for Hamilton, Company, The Book of Mormon, Mr. Saturday Night and Moulin Rouge!. Unfortunately, there is no one site to enter the lottery, and each site has different timing, so planning accordingly is helpful if you’re looking to see a show on a certain day/week. 

The first site I use is Broadway Direct. This site is not specific to NYC — there are lotteries for Chicago, Durham and Los Angeles as well. For this lottery, you can only enter a day or two at a time, usually about 48 hours before the show (ex. enter for Tuesday night’s show during the day on Monday). It’s a shorter turnaround time, but can be great if you’re looking for something fun to do last minute.

The second site is Lucky Seat. This site has tickets for several cities across the country. I love it because I can enter for multiple shows at once, usually a week to a week and a half out. It’s definitely ideal if you’re planning a trip and have a wider selection of dates available.

The third route is to search for the specific show’s lottery (ex. “Company Broadway Lottery”). Some shows, like Company, have specific sites to enter rather than a third party like the two sites above. Timing for these entries are on a show-by-show basis in my experience. Hamilton has its own app that you enter the show's lottery, and when I entered all the locations, including the tour, had a lottery.

A few things about the lottery to keep in mind:

  • You have a limited time frame to claim and purchase your ticket(s), so make sure to enter an email address you get notifications for and watch for emails. Usually this window is about 2-4 hours.

  • You can only request 1 or 2 tickets. I’ve had the most luck when I only request 1.

  • Seats may have an obstructed view. In my experience, this has been the furthest seat in a row, so part of the stage is slightly obstructed. I’ve never felt that I missed part of the show or had a truly “bad seat.” For Company and Hamilton, I had incredible seats so this is not always the case!

  • Tickets are usually between $35-49.

Rush Tickets

Truth be told, the only show I have done this for is The Music Man. Rather than an online lottery, they have “rush tickets” available, which are $49 tickets sold the day of the show on a first come, first serve basis when the box office opens that day. I tried for rush tickets three times and found it is truly a game of timing.

I’ve been successful twice, and both times I got to the box office about 2 hours and 15 minutes ahead of opening. The time I was unsuccessful was when I got in line about an hour and a half early. All of these times have been on a Sunday, so it might differ for a weekday or 2-show days. 

These tickets are also “obstructed view,” and both times for me this meant sitting in the furthest seat of the row. However, the first time I got a ticket, I was in the front row and much of this show is performed in the center and downstage, so I didn’t feel that I missed much. And for the price, I really can’t complain.


Wish I had better advice for this particular method, but I can really only share my experience here as I think it just depends on the number of tickets available and how early people get in line that day. As mentioned, I’ve only done rush tickets for The Music Man but know other shows use this method as well. If you have the time and are eager to see Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster in this fun show, it’s worth it in my opinion! Would just recommend bringing something to keep you busy while in line. 


Last-Minute Tickets

If I don’t have plans one night and am looking for something to do, I’ll keep my eye on a few shows I want to see on Seat Geek. This site sells box office and resale tickets all on one site, so you don’t have to look across multiple places. On a recent weekend I had success with this method and saw Plaza Suite for $30.


My biggest piece of advice is to wait until an hour before the show (even 45 minutes if you can make it the theater that quickly) to purchase the tickets. When I’ve tried for tickets before, I often see significant markdowns when the show starts in less than an hour. There are a few different ways Seat Geek sorts and filters their tickets, so I’d recommend making sure that you have the settings turned on for the number of tickets you’re looking for and ascending price to find the best deals. 


Seat Geek is nationwide, so while I haven’t used it for shows outside of NYC, I’d try it for your area to see if it works. One thing to note is that the ticket price listed does not include fees, so just keep that in mind to avoid a shock of a higher price when you go to check out. My Plaza Suite ticket was listed for $17, but ended up being around $30 with fees. There are coupon codes out there, so it’s worth a quick search to see if you can get even more of a discount.


While this method is definitely the definition of last-minute plans, you do know exactly where you’re sitting and can really score on the prices. If you happen to be by Times Square, I’ve also heard of people going directly to the box office about an hour before and seeing what the cheapest ticket for the evening is, so that may be a method to try too!


Wishing you the best of luck on your hunt to get affordable tickets! Let me know if you have success with any of the above.

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