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Broadway Discount Update

K.C. Summers

Why pay full price to see Broadway shows? Sharon Isch, our former Post colleague and resident theater expert, just e-mailed with this update on discounted Broadway tickets:

Several companies offer discounts for Broadway shows, including Playbill.com, which requires signing up for a free online membership. Very simple. I joined long ago so I could check out their offers, and recommended it to readers. Just got an e-mail from them saying discount offers will now be available only to people who sign up for daily e-mails from them. Can't imagine many out-of-towners would want to put up with that level of e-box clutter when there are less annoying ways to discount shop. BroadwayBox.com and Theatermania.com still seem to have the widest selections among the discounters, and are easy to use.

Oh, and if you're a fan of New York's discount TKTS booths, they're into online discounting too. The Theater Development Fund, which runs TKTS, charges $25 a year to join and membership is restricted to teachers, students, union members, over 62s, civil servants, nonprofit types, arts professionals and members of the clergy and armed services . . . which encompasses quite a crowd. Check it out here.

Wondering what to see? "Frost/Nixon," hot from London's West End with Frank Langella and Michael (Tony Blair of "The Queen") Sheen, got fab reviews, and August Wilson's last play, "Radio Golf," got pretty good reviews. BroadwayBox and Theatermania are offering discounts for both. Some old faves from TV to be found in the discount bin are "Deuce," which got panned in spite of Angela  'Murder She Wrote' Lansbury,  as did  "Curtains," in spite of Niles from "Frazier." Coming soon, Jerry (The Beav of "Leave it to Beaver") Mathers  joins the cast of "Hairspray" in June. Tickets for "Wicked," "Jersey Boys," "Spamalot" and "The Lion King" remain hard to come by at any price. 

By K.C. Summers |  May 14, 2007; 4:20 PM ET  | Category:  K.C. Summers , Theater
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I don't recommend joining the Theatre Development Fund (TDF). The way it works is that you can order 1 or 2 tickets online that are heavily discounted ($30-$35) and you pick them up at will call shortly before the show. Unfortunately, there are only usually a handful of weekend broadway shows available at a time. Usually straight plays, shows in previews, or shows that are really struggling at the box office. The problem is that the tickets that you get assigned are just terrible, typically mid to rear mezz or balcony that sell normally for $65 to $75. If you get an orchestra seat, it is generally obstructed view. You only find out where you are sitting an hour before the show.

After getting seats in the very last row of the mezz to back to back shows, I decided it was much better just to use other discounted ticket sources (broadwaybox.com or the rush tickets listed on playbill.com) or just go to the TKTS booth where the selection of shows and seat locations are much better.

The TDF system is really for students with good vision, people who can go mid-week, or people who like off-broadway shows (which have much greater availability in TDF). If you are spending all that money to go to NYC, you don't really want to sit way high in the balcony for a show that was 10th on your list. When I first signed up for TDF, I thought it was a great idea but soured on it after a few years.

Posted by: E | May 15, 2007 12:06 PM

It's true that since the discounts are so steep at TDF you don't know where you're going to sit. I've sit in great orchestra seats and sometimes rear mezz. but what's great about using TDF is that it is a great supplement to see shows I'm on the fence about.

When I go to NYC there are shows i just MUST see..so I get those tickets in advance. For other shows I either use TKTS or my TDF membership...Good thing about the Fund is that the little $ they get on service charges goes back into audience development...school kids, etc.

Posted by: bwaybaby | May 15, 2007 2:51 PM

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