How many of you save your Broadway ticket stubs?

I saved them all.

When I was younger, I’d get my Playbill, and that ticket stub (which is no longer a stub, thanks to ticketing scanners) would go right in the middle.

Full embarrassing disclosure: when I was in high school, I used to take the cover of my Playbills, the ticket stubs, and a few choice photos from inside the Playbill, and I’d create a poor-man’s decoupage that I framed and put on my nightstand.  I guess my hope was that they would help all of my Broadway dreams come true.  (My Secret Garden Playbill/photo combo even had an autograph from Daisy Eagan!)

Ok, so I was a lonely kid . . . but it was pretty obvious what I was going to do when I grew up.

This post isn’t about my awkward youth (there isn’t enough space on the entire internet for me to go into that), but rather that ticket . . . which for me, and for so many of you, I bet . . . was a souvenir.

And a souvenir is merch . . . and merch is marketing.

The ticket as a souvenir is slowly but surely disappearing as we transition to e-ticketing, and eventually mobile ticketing technology (having the ticketing scanners scan an image on your phone itself, which requires no paper product at all).

And as much as I’m a huge fan of this technology (and of all technology), it’s going to take us a long time to adopt it.


  • We’re always slow to adopt technology.
  • Our customers like hard tickets.

While hanging out at the booth last week, I watched a woman turn to another and say, “Did you get ’em?”  Her friend smiled, then fanned out five Billy Elliot tickets like a winning poker hand.  They both literally screamed with joy.  Now imagine what it would have been like if she showed her friend a UPC image on her phone.


Broadway tickets still have a Willy Wonka “Golden Ticket” effect that we don’t want to disappear too soon.

They are a tangible passport to entertainment that can create a positive emotional response about our product . . . whether or not you choose to frame it.

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UPDATE:  Two days after I wrote this blog, it was announced that New York State became the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring paper tickets. To read more about it, click here.

  • SarahB says:

    Saving the tickets from shows I’ve seen are like treasure to me. I have some displayed and some are with the Playbills; concert tickets are sometimes inserted in the cd covers. They are the souvenir that prove you were there at that special show (or that flop!) and are like adding jewels to a crown. Paperless would be a travesty. I can’t even stand the paper printout of electronic tickets.

  • Leigh says:

    I have all my Broadway/local ticket stubs making a frame around my door. They are some of my prized possessions.
    As for my Playbills, they are safely stored in my little binder in their special covers. 🙂

  • Phil Sumner says:

    I too have saved almost all the ticket stubs from almost all the concerts/shows I’ve seen. It’s a wonderful memory aid, and it’s nice just to look through them occasionally.
    The printouts we get from TicketMaster aren’t quite the same but I suppose they serve the same purpose for me in the end.

  • SusanMKim says:

    Ticket lovers, have you ever been found yourself a little bit rushed to get to the restaurant before the show and then realized as you are walking over to the theater– that you left your tickets for you and your honey at home? I love ticket-less shows because I don’t have that worry.
    That being said— I am fine with keeping the precious paper ticket version as long as theaters will accept credit card/phone UPS coding if you forget your paper ticket at home.
    That’s a compromise that was worked out for the fog horns in San Francisco. With sophisticated GPS and sonar tracking, there was no need for foghorns to warn ships anymore. So they discontinued them. But people missed the sound so much, that they now sound the foghorns whenever there is fog. So now they have both the low-tech and high-tech versions to warn ships and everyone is happy.

  • We can’t avoid any technological improvements – and eco-friendly practices – for long. The less paper printed, the cheaper. Honestly, I’m more than a little surprised that Broadway hasn’t entirely gone the way of the West End in regards to playbills: across the pond, you either fork over your 5 lbs+ or you simply don’t have a remembrance of the production – besides your paper ticket, of course.
    – Tim Childs

  • Matt says:

    If you still have your ticket stubs – visit and share the memories. You are guaranteed to love this community of people just like you

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