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How to Play the Broadway Ticket Lottery

Tickets to Broadway shows can get really spendy -- upwards of $120 per seat.

If you are looking for a Broadway deal on great shows, the New York City Entertainment section currently has shows such as In The Heights, Phantom of the Opera and American Idiot for as much as 40% off regular prices. These deals allow you to choose your seat when purchasing -- a perk that most Broadway ticket discounting options don’t allow.

If those scenarios don’t work, a ticket lottery can be a way to score a last-minute, day-of ticket. But be forewarned, there’s no guarantees -- on where you’ll sit or if you’ll even get a ticket.

If you don’t mind taking a chance and leaving your planning to the last-minute here’s how they work:

  • Go to the theater an hour or two before the performance
  • Drop your name in a bucket
  • A theater employee will pull a certain number of names

Anyone whose name gets selected is entitled to two tickets, and usually they're at rock-bottom prices. Many shows offer these limited lottery seats for $25 to $30.

The downside to this option? Planning ahead isn't really possible, and lottery “losers” need to find another (usually more expensive) option. Also, these seats tend to be in less-than-ideal locations. For example, the lottery seats at "West Side Story," playing at the Palace Theater in Times Square, are in the front row. This sounds exciting -- and it is -- but the view is partially obstructed by the stage.

Not all shows have ticket lotteries, so check the show's website for specific ticketing policies. But here's a partial list of shows that do: "Wicked", "Rock of Ages", "Next to Normal", "Million Dollar Quartet".

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Tips by

Deal Expert, New York
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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Laura Motta