The Sunday Giveaway: One ticket to TEDxBroadway!

What do you get when you put 500 people in a room who believe in making Broadway the best it can be?

Why TedxBroadway of course!

It’s hard to believe it has been four years (!) since we first kicked off TEDxBroadway with this talk about what the next 20 years on Broadway might look like.  We’re almost a quarter of the way there!

Grosses are up, attendance is up, houses are filled . . . things are going pretty swell.  But we can’t rest on our hindquarters, now can we?  Oh no.  We can always make things better.

That’s what TEDxBroadway is all about . . . getting a bunch of smart speakers from all sorts of industries in a room to poke our imagination in the hopes that we’ll come up with an idea that will make Broadway even better.

And on Monday, February 23rd, we’re doing it again!

Who’s on this year’s speaker list, you might ask?

How about Kirsten Sabia, the VP of Marketing of the PGA tour, Dr. Laurie Santos, a psychologist who studies how animals think about the world, and my good friend Elliott Masie, a master of how people “learn” and therefore how to teach.  And gobs more.  Click here for the complete list.

Would you like to go?

Here’s the thing – tickets are sold out (!) as they always are.  But I’ve got a freebie to give away.  All you have to do is comment below with one idea . . . not one problem . . . but one idea on how to make Broadway even better.  So you can’t say, “Tickets are too expensive.”  You can say, “Free tickets every Thursday for people whose names are Thursday.”

Don’t judge your own ideas.  I don’t care how crazy they are.  I just want one positive idea on how to make Broadway a better place.

And maybe someone who reads it will be inspired to do something about it.

Ready, set, make Broadway better!


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

– – – – –


– Today is the last day to enter Will It Recoup? for a chance to win $500 of Broadway Theater Tickets!  Click here.

– This week on the Podcast:  Broadway gossip columnist Michael Riedel from the NY Post.  Listen here.

– Need help Getting Your Show Off the Ground? Come to my seminar on March 14th! Click here.

  • Andy Gordanier says:

    Create a process that gives theater goers a discount when they present their ticket stub from another show they have seen in the past 10 days at any box office.

  • Sara Wolter says:

    Like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, a youtube sampling of 1 song each or a 2 minute scene per play to expose a great audience to Broadway shows. Producers could pay to be included and the Youtube video could be used in tourist ads for NYC.

  • Philip V says:

    An industry loyalty card, that offers a small discount to each show. This should be given out to anyone involved in community theatre through Broadway, after completing an application of some sort.

    It’s hard affording to see theatre to be inspired to create better theatre.

  • Nancy brown says:

    Pick random people on the tkts line to see their show for free. One or two people/couples per time. Comes up randomly when the agent checks them out!

  • Brandon says:

    Live broadcast shows to elementary & high schools, especially ones without a prominent theatre program! Maybe with a digital talkback with creators afterward?

  • Emily says:

    If theaters had virtual playbills, it would be a great way to save paper and go green.

  • Allison M says:

    More ideas like how It Shoulda Been You did $14 tickets to the first 14 previews. It really hyped up the show and a lot of people showed up!

  • Sarah P. says:

    A discount system to reward hardcore fans who are repeat-goers to shows, where if they see the show perhaps 5 or 10 times they get a comp ticket, more rewards as they go! 🙂

  • Frank says:

    More ticket price diversity on Broadway (not every show is worth $100+ per ticket)…so the shows that are usually reserved for Off-Broadway can have a chance to appeal to a wider (and more out-of-town) audience.

  • Luci Jo DeVoy says:

    A program that is designed to bring the large and small stage into the classroom. Correlating the classroom subject matter and the aspect of the arts that most closely relates. Math=Music, Science to sounds of music, or lighting, or scenic design ect…
    You will have a new generation of savvy audiences as well as a technologically advanced next generation of people inspired to work in the theater.

  • William says:

    Collecting leftover Playbills left behind from each performance and recycling them to print future Playbills.

  • Iyvon says:

    Theatre companies and Broadway productions should sell their tickets at a deep discount to groups that usually do not frequent their theaters in order to spur continued diversity throughout their season or run, not only if that specific demographic lays a major role in that production.

  • Natalie Randall says:

    Give out tickets to the Wednesday matinees to schools that are less privileged.

    I substitute teach and there are so many students who would love to attend a Broadway show but don’t have the money to buy a ticket.

    You could have students write a 500 word essay on why they would like to attend the shows and give out tickets based on the essays.

    This might actually be a program you could seriously workout through the DOE.

    • Dara says:

      Great idea Natalie … Sometimes those Wednesday matinees are so woefully attended that it could hurt nothing to let students fill the seats. And in turn it creates some good PR for the show and producers.

  • Sarah M. Chichester says:

    Having more TKTS booths or having other types of discount broadway ticket booths throughout the city (at least one for every borough).

  • lexi says:

    Video tape the shows and sell them as films on Itunes or YouTube at movie prices after the show has closed. By doing this you open the Broadway shows to people of all ages and socioeconomic status.

  • Tess Nielsen says:

    Encourage even more social media marketing–rev up the marketing process to really get the word on the street

  • Live broadcasts of Broadway shows in movie theatres across the world, like the National Theatre does.

  • Grace Toy says:

    I’d love it if Broadway shows held a lot more talk-backs in general. It’s a great way for audiences to part to learn more about the production, ask questions, and have a more interactive experience.

  • Free/cheap tix to people in the business (union card/guild card) during previews of a show.
    One night a month – locals night – cheap tix for people area ID cards.
    More talk backs with all kinds of people associated with the shows: casting directors, designers, Producers, etc, not just the cast.

  • Michael Bauer says:

    When you leave a Broadway show what goes through your mind as you walk out? “Wow I wish I could do that.” Create an experience where audience members are invited onstage after th show, maybe even taught a dance combo or a song with th cast. Really make it a communal experience, change lives.

  • Jeremy Terry says:

    Reverse the pricing on tickets, so that the better seats in the front are cheaper, while the ones in the back that get filled last cost more. This encourages people to still buy early to get better seats, but also guarantees you’ll sell tickets in hard times. If someone says “what to do tonight, I only have $50,” they would probably be more interested in sitting in the orchestra for Wicked than in the back row of the balconies. Additionally, in busy times the expensive tickets would still sell because people are willing to pay to get in no matter what.

    (Of course, I’d like to see just one show in one theatre lower ticket prices to $40 a seat. All seats, all the time. Then watch as the other theaters scramble to mimic them when they realize that the one show sells out every night.)

  • Sarah SAfford says:

    Broaden the audience by reserving one row or one block of 25 tix in each theater for groups from free adult education programs, community colleges, NYCHA housing residents, etc

  • Tim stone says:

    Do two performances of every show every night. Maybe 6 and 9.30 even if you have to have two casts. Same rental. Same marketing dollars. More people so maybe less cost to go.

  • Amada says:

    As a tour guide I am asked all the time which shows I prefer and what have I seen and what do I recommend…. so with 40 Broadway theatres and 52 weeks in the year it gets super expensive. I definitely feel like if more free tickets were offered to tour guides we might have more tourists interested in seeing the shows. I do have a tdf membership so that helps but ya know special discounts for tourism businesses could be beneficial. My other thought or idea is that we should be recycling playbills or offering e-tickets/e-programs. For example a qr code in the lobby people could scan to load on their phones or each theatre chair could be equipped with thin tablets or tvs (like jetblue chairs) that loads that nights program. Ads… whatever. Also I know we recycle each year with Broadway Green Aliance equipment we don’t need and I believe we donate the costumes but is there a warehouse for Broadway shows to share old sets as well? If more communication was made between all the theatres it might save money and share resources. National tours could also benefit from using these resources. Like a materials for the arts warehouse for theatre in New York. The leftover lights or sets could be rented or bought or donated.

  • Scott says:

    Bring back the repurposed theatres: Mark Hellinger, Latin Quarter

  • Lauren says:

    Widely advertised ushering program so everyone can volunteer to work for a free seat!

  • Molly says:

    I think it’s interesting that the first thing that happens when you walk into a theatre is someone scolds you to turn off your phone and not take photographs in a social media driven society. The first thing tourists do when they are doing something they love is post a photograph to social media outlets. While it is absolutely necessary to have phones off and no photography during shows we could be encouraging audiences to take photos from house opening to start of show. We are wasting the hottest half hour for social media marketing. Perhaps we could even make arrangements with set designers that during this time photography is encouraged and specifically design houses to open in a way that is amenable to photo sharing. I understand designers don’t want their work photographed but could we amend the rules to exclude this first golden half hour of the theatre as a social hub?


    My hobby as a 13-14-15 year old Broadway theatergoer was to get backstage after each show and plant myself downstage center on the empty Broadway stage in front of the work light….stretch my arms out and take THE biggest bow to the empty house….. Hey, I was 13…….

    Arrange for all high school and college groups to come up on stage after their performance(s) and give those kids (and teachers) a once in a lifetime (for some) thrill of their lives by standing downstage center on a GREAT, BIG, BROADWAY STAGE !!! I’ve never forgotten my 15 seconds of fame….

  • Solange De Santis says:

    An international live HD broadcast in movie theaters with a different Broadway show each week, called Saturday Night on Broadway.

  • Ellen Orchid says:

    Give a free ticket to a Broadway show on someone’s birthday. They have to show proof and ID.

  • Zach says:

    Showcasing musical sequences on Times Square billboards.

  • Eileen says:

    A rigorous customer service training course obligatory for anyone who works box offices or ushers. I’ve consistently seen rude treatment of theatre goers by theatre personnel in lots of houses. Good customer service = loyalty & repeat business!

  • Megan Wildebour says:

    On Mondays or otherwise dark days/nights, give the stage over to selected Off-Broadway or nonprofits with minimal set needs and sell tickets for $30. The proceeds go to required union employees. If anything is left, it goes to the visiting company.

  • Tom Hartman says:

    Create a mechanism by which an audience member can make the pre-show reminder to shut of cell phones and recording is not allowed in costume and/or makeup from the show. For example, a contest where Kinky Boots ticket buyers can be made up, a VO announcer introduces them and they come out in drag to make the announcemnt live.

  • John says:

    Broadway attendance is up, but it can not grow except in price due to limited theater capacity. Road tours are fine, but NEA data shows national theater attendance has been declining for years. Two thoughts on how how to grow I suggest a “rebranding” of OffBroadway ( which to the out of towner sounds like “second best” or “out of the mainstream,” ), so that high quality work can be expanded, within the city and younger, but less affluent people, have a place to start their “theater habit”.

    If competition is a concern. create a system of theater clusters in other markets where multiple shows can travel at once to get enough mass to draw tourists. ( see Branson Missouri, Las Vegas, as examples in theory.). Enjoy your Emails, Keep at it..

  • gary j. says:

    Escalators/Elevators … people aren’t dying of old age, they’re dying climbing the damn stairs!!

  • Dara Ely says:

    Broadway could use more TV showcasing, which I know costs lots of money. The Thanksgiving Day parade helps promote for holiday season tourists and the Tony’s are a grand celebration, but I’m thinking something more “bite sized.”

    How about a winter TV special to help promote the upcoming spring season of new shows – similar to the “Making of Peter Pan Live” special that NBC did prior to the event or the Disney on Broadway special. The program could include info about the upcoming shows, quick interviews, rehearsal footage, a look at the theaters, etc. Even though only new shows would be showcased, current running shows could advertise and might get a little winter boost just because people get Broadway on the brain.

  • Randy Zeese says:

    Get corporate sponsors to do giveaways of promotional offers and merchandise to audience members…Ellen does this almost everyday! No cost to Theater other than distribution and audience is happy!
    Also, consider randomly selecting two audience members from each performance to go backstage to meet cast members…there are always a few pre-approved folks waiting to see the cast anyway, so what’s a couple more? And it would be thrilling for those lucky ones chosen!

  • Scott Seidl says:

    Later in a show’s life, when leased to schools, community theaters, etc… educational materials are often included with the rental materials for follow up discussion in the classroom. Create similar materials that are flashier / fun / souvenir included to sell at merch tables at a reasonable cost for families. This continues the conversation about the production at home and helps to educate the next generation of theater goers.

  • Sierra says:

    Increase the number of theaters considered to be “Broadway,” or legitimize even further the Off-Broadway title. There is so much great theater being produced in New York that don’t have the “Broadway” tourist-attracting label that deserve to gain monetary and press invigoration. We put so many eggs into a small Broadway basket – a lot of actors, technicians, writers, theaters and singer/dancers could benefit from it.

  • Sarah L. says:

    Definitetly some sort of loyalty program, especially for local people. I have lived in hell’s kitchen for almost 30 years and usually see all (or very close to all) show in every Broadway season. As a social worker on a limited income, I have to find discount tickets so I do lottery, tdf, rush, etc. And as soon as bad weather hits I always fo on the prowl for cheap tickets and lotteries giving out more tickets than usual etc. What about a day-of email blast for bad weather with a really cheap discount code (like lottery ticket price) for local manhattan people to use at the box office if they can get to the show? I am definitely the consumer you want to get into your show since every friend and family members uses my recommendations to decide what they see when they come to town. And it’s a win-win in bad weather when audiences would be slim.

  • Deborah says:

    Devote an early preview performance to PAY WHAT YOU WILL. Thereby creating an enormous line at the box office. Could work for late in the run as well.

  • karen c. says:

    The Broadway Experience Spot.
    Taking a cue from all the Times Square renovation to encourage tourist traffic – an indoor experience totally devoted to Broadway.. complete with some type of “ride” that people would want to “experience” (‘kay, maybe not a ferris wheel, but maybe something on a track similar to a Disney’s educational/entertainment rides that would take passengers from the glamour of the past to a look at backstage/costuming/set design, to promotional videos of current shows.) I imagine it as a place where CD and book signing events could happen, a place where performers could stop by and sing a song or two, a place for meet and greets and promotional events, and a store selling everything from merchandise to show tickets.
    And I would like to work there.

  • Ginger Dayle says:

    Break the “fourth wall” and get the audience more involved in the process. A lot of regional theatres do this with talk backs, back stage experiences, readings, etc., but I think Broadway needs to take it a step (or several steps further) further since it’s, well, Broadway! The audience needs to feel more invested. Fans are one thing but “co-conspirators” are even better! Having audience involved in the process will make them more likely to become “repeat offenders.”

  • Have discounts for Equity members for Broadway Shows. Actors need to see Broadway shows but the prices are so high that few can afford to see them on a regular basis.

  • Linda says:

    I think some theaters could try an airline approach to ticket sales. For dates and shows that are less popular, the tickets go down, and then as more seats get filled, the ticket price increases. This allows for more variety in ticket price and more seats to be sold.

  • Andrew Joy says:

    Allow the next generation from all disciplines to be a fly on the wall. For example the producer “fly” would sit in on add meetings, investor pitches, tech rehearsals and more. (An actor “fly” could sit in on put-in rehearsals, a director “fly” could sit in production meetings, etc.) It wouldn’t be for them to participate, but merely observe. This may not do much to make Broadway better in the short term, but it will build foundations for future leaders. That way when it is their ‘turn’ they can build off an existing foundation rather than trying to build it for the first time.

  • Alexa B. says:

    Once a month, every show has a quick Q&A after one of the performances and everyone in the audience can stay and listen!

  • Evelyn Storch says:

    Seating by height (seated height)–no one ever has to spend the evening moving back and forth just to see the show.

  • Ethan K says:

    Season tickets to Broadway, for people who live locally and go enough. A discount if you buy X number of show packages in advance, with some flexibility around dates. You don’t get to choose your exact seats, but you get the flexibility of seeing lots of shows for a little less money.

  • Catherine Downey says:

    Broadway Karaoke. Make additional revenue in the theatres during the day, or at night dark days, by turning the stage into a karaoke bar, for people to belt out their favorite hits and pretend they’re the star! Full bar for courage a must, but hey, you can make money that way too =].

  • Lynn says:

    Definitely have a wait list line for seats not sold.

  • Lauren Schneider says:

    Don’t let balcony seats go dead. Since “word of mouth” is our best sales tool – we can always use more “mouths.”
    The tickets and the experience needs to be valued – and we’re not talking about TDF – – – but dead seats hurt too much in too many ways.
    Broadway will be better with full houses.

  • Bridget Dennin says:

    Ok so I’m a student and tickets to Broadway shows are super expensive for us and basically everyone. Now this might sound crazy but I think it would be a cool idea is you know how to go to some places like Delia’s or 16 Handles and every time you buy something you get one of those little cards the punch holes in and if you get enough punches you get a discount or something free. Well I think Broadway should do that for rush tickets every time you wait in line and get a rush tickets your card gets punched and once you’ve racked up 5 or 10 punches you either get a free rush ticket or a really good seat at a rush price. I mean it sounds a little far fetched but it’s food for thought. =)

  • David D Wright says:

    There is a need for more diversity on Broadway. To have multicultural theatre institutions co-produce their high end work on Broadway. Giving the many cultures that live in NY and the Metropolitan areas the opportunity to see images of themselves. Musicals would be a way to explore, as music is a universal language.

  • I’ve always thought that tickets to all Broadway shows should have student discount tickets as well as tickets for OAP, or Seniors. When I was a student in London, I was able to attend the theatre all the time because of my student ID. I think I attended the theatre at least 3 or 4 times a week. Even now in London, I will wait online for day seats at the Barbican and at the National to see shows that might otherwise be sold out.

  • Brian stoll says:

    Simple….this is the digital age…create separate events on the shows FB book for The Elephant Ma. for example and allow those patrons seeing the show to join the group (after validating they have tickets somehow) and you’ve created an intimate group of theatre goes who coils get to know eachother before hand…see the show and the. Share their experiences on the page and possibly meet up after to talk about it.

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