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VIP ACCESS: Three Hot Sites for Big Broadway Discounts

April 27th, 2011

Every fourth Wednesday of the month, the “VIP Access” column will serve up advice on how to make your theater-going experiences cheaper, easier and more fulfilling with inside scoop from the experts.

Cheap seats for "Jersey Boys"? Photo by Joan Marcus.

If you’re scrolling through this column then I suppose you already know about them newfangled computer things the kids are talking about. (Look, Madge, you’re reading on it.) I’ll save the “wonders of the web” speech for my Mother and her blinking VCR and cut to the chase: far too many people still pay full price for theater tickets when the internet offers lots of easy ways to get Broadway at a discount. Here are three sites—an innovator, a wild card and a classic—that will have you singing a new tune about sky-high musical prices.

One caveat: there is no silver bullet-point in my list that will get you cheap tickets to that new sold-out, high-demand show; it just won’t happen even in the wonderland of the web. With that in mind, let’s start clicking and saving…

1. The New Kid on the Block: My Broadway Deal is Groupon for theater; it’s that simple. (If you just heard a thwack, that was me slapping my forehead as if to say “Why didn’t I think of that!?”) Sign up and you get a weekly email with a great limited-time offer on a single show. Unlike Groupon, there are no vouchers; you make your purchase through the official ticketing service. For example, just the other day, they sent out an offer for $65 orchestra seats to the well-reviewed revival of Born Yesterday; that’s 45% off the face value.

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I know some people worry about web sales and giving out their information but Ken Davenport at My Broadway Deal assures me that the email list will not be used for any other marketing purposes. Plus, given that one often puts off buying tickets, the email reminder is a great little push to try something new. There still may be kinks to work out with the program after only a month online, but it looks like a winner to me.

2. Back to School Sale: is another website that requires you to sign up in order to access their deals. The difference here is that they send out last minute notices (via email and twitter feed to their “Will Call Club”) about “rush” tickets—heavily discounted or even free seats that producers are looking to fill for an upcoming performance. The site itself also features discount code listings and helpful info about each show’s rush ticket policy (ie. where and when to line up in person for additional daily cheap seats.) Although many offers on the website are open to all, some of the discounts require a valid student ID. And, no, I don’t know how carefully they check expiration dates so flash your decades old cafeteria card with care; the Members Only jacket in the picture might be a dead giveaway. Overall, the site seems like a great deal. I’ve only had limited experience with it so anyone who knows more, please chime in with comments, good or bad, below.

3. Nothing Like a Classic: For me, most ticket searches begin and end at Broadway Box. Easy to use and comprehensive, the site features a list of all the Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, any current discount codes and a link to the ticket site where you can use the code. Done. However, here’s my advice for the real cheapskates out there (my name isn’t Mizer for nothing): print out the discount code offer for the show you want to see and then bring that page to the theater box office to buy the tickets in person. No extra charges from telecharge can save you serious cash per ticket.

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