The August 23, 2022, edition of The Slate featured a story highlighting the high ticket prices and overall inaccessibility of Broadway. As a huge theatre fan and frequent Broadway-goer, I found a lot of merit in the argument being laid out in this piece. However, I see more to the story.
In the story, the author noted that the average price of a Broadway ticket in the 2018-19 season was $122.73 and currently is around $115. I could never dispute the fact that many Broadway shows charge huge prices for premium and even supposed “cheap seats.” However, it is dishonest to paint a picture that every Broadway ticket costs this much. It is entirely possible to see most Broadway shows for under $100. You just have to know where to look.
Let me explain. I have seen 16 Broadway shows so far this year, and almost every ticket was $99 or less. For the casual theatergoer, Broadway.com is the primary source for purchasing tickets. The website knows this and charges outrageous “Service and Handling” fees; a ticket for “The Music Man” comes with fees as high as $95. If someone were to see only one or two Broadway shows a year, they may very well pay more than the cost of a ticket just in fees.
The key is to know where and when to buy tickets. For example, I saw the acclaimed production of “Into the Woods” before it transferred to Broadway, so I bought a single ticket for $43 just minutes after sales opened. If I had waited until the show opened and word spread, I would’ve paid closer to $75.
Additionally, you have to price check tickets across websites. My go to website for tickets is todaytix.com, where I often save between $20 and $50 on fees. Case in point: the cheapest ticket to the November 5, 2022, matinee of “The Music Man” would cost $268.65 on Broadway.com, but only $219 on todaytix.com, and even less at only $215.50 on telecharge.com. All three of these prices are extremely high, but simply looking at your options could save you $53 in fees.
However, the most efficient way to save money on Broadway tickets is to buy at the box office whenever possible. If you are headed to New York and have your next trip planned, buying tickets at the box office eliminates all online fees. You could save up to $70 on the aforementioned “Music Man” ticket if you did this instead. That $70 could pay for a mezzanine ticket at a handful of other Broadway shows.
My argument is not that Broadway can be accessible to every individual if only they knew the tips I’ve laid out. I am well aware that due to my financial status and proximity to Manhattan, I am able to consume much more Broadway than the average person. Especially post-pandemic, the Broadway community still has lots of work to do in order to make itself welcoming to more diverse audiences.
What I am saying is the next time you’re planning a trip to “The Great White Way,” don’t be discouraged by the first price you see. Spend a few extra minutes price checking and do what you can to get the most out of your money.