Theatre on a Budget: More deals for the economical theatergoer

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Welcome to Theatre on a Budget, the new weekly column for discerning theatregoers who have economy in mind. Either the current economy, or, you know, saving money.

We here at Stage Door Dish love theatre and believe that you should love it too, but we also believe you shouldn’t have to go into debt for a ticket. That’s why we are proud to present another list of theatre budget tips. For last week’s tips, please click here. We will also be including specific offers for theatre tickets at the bottom, beginning with New York and hopefully spreading out to the rest of the country in the coming weeks. Here are five more ways to see theatre without breaking the bank:

1. Go see a preview. Now, this isn’t always the case, but theaters are known to offer discounts on preview performances. This makes sense, since these are performances which happen before opening night and therefore before any reviews hit the newsstands or whatever the digital equivalent of a newsstand is these days. Less publicity, less crowds and less demand can encourage a show to offer discounts on their previews. So check your local theatre listings for what shows are currently in previews and try to see it before opening night. Fun fact: many preview-goers attend just to see the inevitable preview mistakes. You might witness a hilariously failed light cue or see Fiona Shaw break a walking stick which is always a good story. But after opening night you may have to resort to some of our other tips listed here.

2. Pay-what-you-can nights. This only really applies to Off-Broadway and regional theaters (which are most of the theaters in this country). Many theaters offer special “pay-what-you-can” nights. If you only have five bucks and want to see a show, go find the nearest pay-what-you-can near you. Just make sure to arrive early because these tickets go fast. Be aware that most of these pay-what-you-can nights happen on weeknights and not on the weekends. To learn about these offers and plenty of others, do what we recommended last week and get to know your local theaters through their website and sign up for their mailing list. Pay-what-you-can nights are a great outreach for the theater so they will usually advertise it prominently in their website or newsletters. Since these attract a different crowd than subscribers or regular ticketholders, these nights are also a good time to meet new people who might not otherwise go the theater. Do some outreach of your own and meet the new fans.

3. Search deal-of-the-day websites for offers on tickets. Everything is on the internet these days including theatre tickets. Use the power of the web to search for deals offered by websites such as, and other sites. These sites offer, in addition to discounted deals, the convenience of customizing your interests. You can tailor the frequency of emails and your particular interests which makes finding cheap tickets even easier. Additionally, search on Yelp and Facebook to find nearby theaters and their reviews. Who knows, these sites may even lead you to some deals of their own.

4. Follow’s rush policies page. For economical theatergoers in New York City these pages are indispensable, until Stage Door Dish gets it covered anyway. If you don’t feel like searching every theater’s individual policy, you don’t have to. Check out the most up-to-date Broadway rush policies here, and their sister page on Off-Broadway theater here. There is a lot to be said for the convenience of seeing these all in the same place.

5. Make use of TKTS. This is an oldie but a goodie. For those familiar with this Times Square fixture (and its fellow booth in Brooklyn; the South Street Seaport location was unfortunately closed by Hurricane Sandy), the bright red TKTS Booth represents big Broadway shows at a big discount. The TKTS Discount Booth, run by the Theatre Development Fund (, sells tickets at 50%, 40%, 30% and 20% off the full price. Because Broadway has a varied show schedule depending on the day of the week, the TKTS booth is also open at different times. Check the website for hours. While you’re there, check out their TDF Membership and the TDF Voucher program for $9 Off-Off-Broadway tickets.

Deals to know about in NYC:

Signature Theatre offers $25 tickets to every performance at their new Pershing Square location. Currently playing is Old Hats by Bill Irwin and David Shiner and The Mound Builders by Lanford Wilson.

Roundabout Theatre hosts a program for 18-35 year old theatergoers named HipTix, which is free to join and gives members access to $20 tickets and free member parties. Currently playing is Talley’s Folly by Lanford Wilson and The Big Knife by Clifford Odets.

Lincoln Center Theater has their own program for 21-35 year olds named LincTix which offers $30 tickets for every performance. As a bonus, LincTix members get first dibs on shows at the black box space known as LCT3. Again, free to join. Currently playing is Ann by Holland Taylor and The Nance by Douglas Carter Beane.

Manhattan Theatre Club offers their 30 under 30 club which is very similar to the ones listed above. Under 30 year olds get free access to $30 tickets. Currently playing is The Madrid by Liz Flahive and The Assembled Parties by Richard Greenberg.

Similar offers, subject to availability, are offered by Second Stage Theatre, The Irish Repertory Theatre, Playwrights Horizons and more.

Check them out and get yourself to a show and enjoy the discount. Remember, penny saved is a penny you can put towards your next theatre ticket.

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