Sunday, July 3, 2011

TKTS Times Square: Ticket Buying Basics & Tips

Ticket buyers brave the rain on a Sunday afternoon.
(all photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
There are various methods of purchasing tickets for Broadway shows and finding tickets. This post is about the TKTS Times Square discount ticket booth.

With the ever rising cost of Broadway theatre tickets, the TKTS booth at Times Square which opened in 1973 continues to be a valuable resource to find discounted seats. When the redesigned booth opened in 2008, one of the advantages for ticket buyers waiting in the long lines was the increased number of box office windows from ten to twelve. Another change was the acceptance of credit card payments. Buyers now did not have to worry about carrying of hundreds of dollars in their pockets while waiting in line.

One of two electronic boards listing the
available shows and discounts (2007 photo).
When buying tickets keep in mind that not all shows are offered for discount. Popular shows such as 'Wicked', 'The Lion King' and 'The Book of Mormon' do not offer seats at TKTS because these productions can sell out the theatre at full-price. Secondly the choice of shows, seat availability and discount points can change throughout day and week. So don't be surprised if better seats or additional shows are added later in the day. The electronic boards located on each side of the booth windows are constantly updated with the list of available show tickets.

Don't forget that the TKTS booth also offers discounts to off-Broadway venues. Many are not familiar with these shows so inquire with the experts situated near the electronic boards. Otherwise do research before hand or find brochures listing off-Broadway show descriptions.

If you do not plan to purchase tickets for one of the numerous musicals, at least one window called the "play express" window is devoted to only selling tickets to plays. The line at this window often moves more quickly. A second plays-only line may be opened should there be a demand.

Visit these links for a series of New York Times articles called "Broadway Bargains" with offers ticket buying tips at the booth.
Secrets of the TKTS Booth
Answers to Your TKTS Questions Part 1
Answers to Your TKTS Questions Part 2
Answers to Your TKTS Questions Part 3

The Theatre Development Fund (TDF) which operates the booth offers the following to assist ticket buyers. The app and their website also lists the shows that were available at the booth the previous week.
App for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
Download (pdf) of tips for using the TKTS Times Square Booth

These are the operating hours for TKTS Times Square.
For evening performances: Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat 3pm-8pm; Tue 2pm-8pm; Sun 3pm-8pm.
For matinee performances: Wed & Sat 10am-2pm; Sun 11am-3pm.
Most plays and musicals offer matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays or Sundays. Should a production offer a matinee performance on one of the other days and have tickets available, the booth will open at 10am on these days.

iPhone screenshot of TKTS app. 
Tickets are sold at various discount points of 50%, 40% and 20% off full price and a service fee of $4 is added to each ticket which helps to support the TDF services and programs. The discounts, like ticket availability, is at the discretion of the individual production.

The TDF operates two other booths. One tip is the TKTS Downtown Brooklyn and TKTS South Street locations sell matinee tickets on the day before the performance. These booths therefore do not sell tickets for matinees on the day of performance. Another tip is the lines for these two booths are shorter than at the Times Square location.

Visit for more information about the Theatre Development Fund services, programs and other TKTS locations. Over 50 million tickets have been sold at the various TKTS locations accounting for upwards of $1.4 million for productions.

TKTS World Trade Center:
For history purposes, it should be noted that the TDF operated a booth at the World Trade Center complex in the main lobby of WTC2. My first time to ever use a TKTS booth was in 2000 at this location. In 2002, a new booth at the South Street Seaport replaced the WTC booth after the tragic events of 9/11. In the interim, the TDF had been selling tickets from a trailer at Bowling Green Park Plaza.

TKTS booth (right) at the World Trade Center
(photo credit: Noriaki Gotoh)


Michael Thomas said...

Broadway shows New York is one of the major streets in the New York City and is related to all the rich and old history in the city.Apart from the traditional history and the enriched culture, this place is also related to the best musicals which are popular all over the world.Thanks!!!!!!!!!

Felicity Sanderson said...

I've never been to a Broadway show. I've heard of how extravagant they can be! Maybe I should look into buying a few tickets for my husband and I. He used to go with his family back when he was younger.!about/cfvg

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