Three reasons why theater tickets are NOT expensive.

There’s a rule in consumer research that’s especially true for Broadway . . . when asking your research subjects why they haven’t purchased something, don’t ever give them “too expensive” as an option for them to choose . . . because they will always say things are too pricey and you can never get an accurate read on what they really felt (because the truth is they are not saying it’s too expensive, they are saying there is not enough value in the product).

And when you’re dealing with theater tickets, people 101% always say they are too expensive . . . because they are, dangit.

But wait, that’s actually not always true.  There are cheap ways to see Broadway shows and Off Broadway shows.  And now, thanks to the post-Labor Day Blues, the Back to Schools, and the upcoming Jewish holidays, is the perfect time for anyone on a budget to see a show (or for those who want to binge watch a bunch of shows for the price of one).

Here are three ways theater tickets are cheap right now.

1.  Broadway Week

NYC & Co, the official organization for New York tourism, is currently sponsoring Broadway Week, which allows you to snag 2-for-1 tickets on a ton of shows.  But hurry, a lot of the shows’ allocations for these cheepee tickets are already gone, and the promotion only lasts through September 20th.  Click here to see a list of the shows and how to order the tickets (and yep, Spring Awakening has just a few tickets left).

2.  20at20

One of the most aggressive and exciting promotions on the market starts this coming Monday and runs through October 4th only.  20at20 was started, oh, about eight years ago now by a group formerly known as the Off Broadway Brainstormers who were dedicated to shining a spotlight on Broadway shows for the local NYC market (yep, I was one of the original members of that group and one of the first organizers of 20at20).  The idea behind the promotion is simple.  20 minutes before the start of a show, a bunch of tickets are sold for $20.  That’s right, only $20!  And this year, over 40 shows are participating!  Click here to see them all, and then start making a list of all the shows you want to see (you could literally see seven Off Broadway shows for the price of one Broadway show!).  I’d suggest putting Daddy Long Legs and That Bachelorette Show on that list.  But hey, that’s just me.  🙂

3.  Off Broadway Week

Broadway Week’s little brother starts on September 21st and runs through October 4th, and features the same 2-for-1 special.  Why use this promotion instead of 20at20?  The locations are a little better, and it doesn’t require you waiting in line and there’s no risk of you not getting in to see a show.  So if you want a little more security in your show shopping, check out Off Broadway Week.

And wait, here’s a bonus!

4.  A Tip about the TKTS Booth

I know, you know all about the TKTS booth, but what you may not know is that this is the time of year when almost every single show in Times Square is on the boards.  This week alone, I saw all of the new shows from last season on the boards including An American in Paris, Something Rotten!, Curious Incident, and even the Best Musical Tony Award-winning Fun Home.  And not only are there a plethora of new shows to choose from, but because the tourists have all flown south and east and west for the winter, there are no lines most of the day.  Lots of shows, no waiting.  September is the best time of year to TKTS shop.  Click here to see real time listings of what shows are available without leaving your house!

It’s easy to use the excuse that theater tickets are too expensive and that’s why you don’t go.  But this time of year, that excuse doesn’t hold H20.  It just doesn’t.  So get out there and see a show.  Not only will you save a ton of money, but you’ll also be helping to support the Broadway and Off Broadway community at a time when it really needs it.

If you’ve got other tips on how to save money on seeing shows, chuck ’em in the comments below.  And enjoy seeing tons of shows this September!

(By the way, a great way to save money months in advance is to buy group tickets to see shows with your school, church or just a bunch of friends.  Click here to learn more more.)


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

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– Looking for a job, or want to tell the world about your upcoming show?  Do it in our forum!  Click here.

– Win 2 tickets to see Daddy Long Legs Off Broadway!  Click here.

– Follow Spring Awakening‘s journey to opening night!  Click here to read The Associate Producer’s Perspective.

  • Carvanpool says:

    After catering to tourists and charging obscene prices all year, you call for locals to go see shows and buy at TKTS because of all the availability and lack of tourists? That boat sailed years ago, sad to say. The locals have learned about TDF rock bottom prices and all the papering services. Why would they even want to pay half off? Still too expensive!

    When the chickens come hpme to roost, they bring with them all they’ve learned while out in the hinterlands.

  • Esther says:

    I think Ken’s being disingenuous about who actually buys tickets for Broadway shows.

    Sure, there are these discounts now if you happen to be in New York City at this particular moment and can go see a show this weekend.

    But the Broadway audience is what – 75 percent tourists? And for them, taking in a Broadway show on a family trip to New York means shelling out several hundred dollars or standing in line for a few hours at TKTS to get a discount that may not even be much of one.

    So this post proves absolutely nothing about the cost of tickets for the average Broadway theatergoer.

  • Mark, the retired English Chairman says:

    Saw SPRING AWAKENING last night,,,it was SUPER…moving, tuneful, full of energy…and the performances were excellent. I had seen the original production, but this revival knocks the ball out of the park! The hearing impaired actors, most of whom have never done a play on Broadway, were excellent. Great choreography, great matching of hearing actor/singers with hard of hearing actors.
    This was the youngest audience for a Broadway show that I had ever seen….which is great for Broadway, where the average age of the patron must be close to 65……this show will help build a new audience for Broadway. Also about even number of men and women, whereas it is often 3 or 4 to one female….

    Something for everyone…comedy, drama, love, stupidity, agony and , yes, even ecstasy……as young people in Germany, 1891, try to buck the establishment AND find happiness and a place for themselves in their world.


  • Jeff says:

    I’m confused how this is proof that shows aren’t too expensive, if people flock to these special times as when they can actually afford to go…

    If they can’t go any other time of year than during a promotion or when sales are down, doesn’t that mean it is normally too expensive for them?

  • Don Bruhnke says:

    You are an acquired taste that becomes addictive! When I signed up for your emails, I thought that I would be too busy to read you on a regular basis. At first that was true. But as I “opened” you more and more I discovered that it was a VERY EASY read, and that as often as not, I would spot something that made sense to my particular taste. I’m happy that I found you. I often thank Paul and Wendy Lewison who introduced me to your blogs, and Hugh Hysell who invited me to meet you and attempted to get me to invest in Kinky Boots. Of course I was MUCH TOO SMART to take his, and your advice (insert “kick in butt” here). LOL!

    Keep your advice coming. I’m learning to listen!

    Don Bruhnke

  • Lisa R. says:

    Thank you for this great advice! I knew some of it but not all, and it is really handy to have it gathered in one place. Now the next time I plan a theatre trip to NYC I’ll know when to go, instead of just showing up whenever and taking my chances. You definitely just saved thousands of dollars for my friends and me over the upcoming years. Pretty sure I owe you a beer at this point.

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