A Theater Kid’s Ultimate Guide to Broadway Done Right

By: Leora Kronenberg  |  September 20, 2022

By Leora Kronenberg

Confession: As of this writing, one week and five days have passed since the Fall 2022 semester began. In that time I have been to three Broadway shows. In the Spring 2022 semester, I attended ten Broadway shows.

I’m well aware that I have a problem.

Finding cheap Broadway tickets that are worth your money and time is not easy. Thankfully, I have some friends in Stern College who were more than willing to give me their best Broadway advice. After seeing more shows than I can count and spending no more than $50 on each seat, I believe I am now qualified to share my knowledge.

Here is my beginner’s guide to affordable Broadway, complete with an overview of avenues to finding cheap tickets and my recommendations for Broadway shows you can’t miss.

How to get Tickets Under $50:

Win a Lottery
There are two primary websites for entering Broadway lotteries. BroadwayDirect allows you to enter lotteries for multiple shows the day before the performance. LuckySeats is essentially identical, but they allow you to enter for shows a week in advance. If you win, you get the best seats available at the discounted price stated on the website. Some shows use an app called TodayTix as an avenue for their lottery (more information below). If you are dying to see a show and it does not appear on one of these two websites, check the website of the show, as sometimes the show runs a lottery through their own app or website.

Rushing a show means rushing (get it?) to the box office right when it opens and seeing if they don’t mind you taking some empty seats off their hands. Some shows have online rush through their website or through the TodayTix app (more below), in which you wait on a virtual line instead of a real one. Some shows even have student rush, in which you get cheap tickets for even cheaper if you present your Student ID. Only some shows offer the rush option, so check the show’s website before heading to the box office.

TodayTix is a ticket vendor that notifies you if there are lotteries/rush available, or when there is a great deal on a show. You can buy tickets on an advertised deal up to weeks in advance. If you don’t win their lotteries, they’ll usually offer you some sort of discount to buy the best tickets available for a slightly higher price than you would pay had you won the lottery tickets.

Standing Room
If you are really desperate to see a show before it closes or before the cast switches out, standing room is the way to go. If a show is completely sold out, the box offices will begin to sell standing room tickets for around $40. When you ask for tickets, the box office will tell you if they are offering standing room tickets and when you should come back to purchase them.

Bonus – TKTS Booth
Head to Times Square and look under the famous red carpeted steps. The tickets sold at the TKTS Booth there are usually at least $50, but they sell last minute tickets to some of the most popular shows.

Now, here are 5 of my favorite recent Broadway show experiences:

5. Into the Woods

Type of Ticket: Standing Room
Price: $39.00
Seats: N/A

Review: I stood for 3.5 hours to see the iconic Sara Bareilles and Phillipa Soo live. My back hurt for days afterwards, but it was worth not being able to sit up straight. I was initially skeptical because I didn’t like the movie, but I now understand why people insisted that this show was good. This story was meant to be performed live. It didn’t take itself too seriously and was so theatrical and whimsical. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Milky White is the unsung hero of this show.

Only on Broadway Moment: I waited by the stage door afterwards, and I got to meet the actor who puppeteer Milky White. It was my first time meeting a Broadway actor, and I now have an amazing video of me embarrassing myself by nervously stammering that he was the best in the show.

4. Wicked

Type of Ticket: Lottery, BroadwayDirect
Price: $49.00
Seats: Orchestra Row C, all the way on the left

Review: I mean, how is one supposed to react to Defying Gravity being sung about three meters away from them? Our seats were insanely close which made me feel surrounded by the story. Strong voices are required to act in this show, so every actor was remarkably talented. Our Glinda was especially funny, and had us laughing the whole time. Elphaba was outstanding and her youthful performance really reminded us that Elphaba was just a freshman in university when this all happened. It was an overall magical experience in Oz.

Only on Broadway Moment: Nothing in particular except the usual rush of emotions that seeing Defying Gravity live evokes.

3. Beetlejuice

Type of Ticket: Lottery, BroadwayDirect
Price: $50.00
Seats: Orchestra Row S, exactly in the middle

Review: This show directly appealed to my cynical side. It was wildly different from any Broadway show I had been to previously. Dark humor paired with painfully bright strobe lights made it just awesome.. I cannot think of a single actor in that show who was not insanely talented or funny in their own right. The storyline is simple yet engaging. By the end you feel so much love for the heroes but desperately want to be invited to an event hosted by the villain. Our seats were so centered that it felt like all the actors were talking directly to us. It truly was a wildly fun ride.

Only on Broadway Moment: Ever watch the Try Guys on YouTube? The night we went, I opened my Playbill only to find out that Keith was making his Broadway debut as an extra. I spotted Ned, Zach, and the rest of the Try Guys team in the audience, there to support him. I also spotted a bunch of cameras pointed at the audience, so we’ll see if some Stern girls make it in a Try Guys video. Keith got his own bow complete with confetti, despite being onstage for about 5 seconds. But that doesn’t matter; he’s great anyways.

2. Funny Girl

Type of Ticket: Lottery, LuckySeats
Price: $47.50
Seats: Orchestra Row O, on the left near the aisle

Review: I went in with zero expectations, thinking I might not like it, but I absolutely loved it. Our Fanny Brice (Julie Benko) was hysterical and insanely talented. There were multiple standing ovations for each song she sang. It was nice to see that she wasn’t trying to replace Barbara Streisand, rather adding her own spin on the character. Nick (Jeremiah James) was also very talented (and very slick), and Mrs. Brice and the ladies embodied the Jewish grandmothers we all know and love. An unexpected hit for me.

Only on Broadway Moment: I stage-doored again, and had a full conversation with the actor who played Nick and the actress who played Fanny. They were incredibly sweet! Fanny Brice also signed our Playbills, and we got pictures with both of them.

Type of Ticket: Lottery, BroadwayDirect
Price: $35.00
Seats: Orchestra Row B, all the way on the left

Review: Again, I went in with no expectations, and I was blown away. This was less like a show and more like a concert, but in the best way possible. Concert tickets are always better closer to the front, so the fact that we were so close made us able to engage with the cast when they broke the fourth wall. It was a blast. We saw it with the original Broadway queens minus one, and what we loved best is that the cast and the score made sure each queen had their own distinct energy. Each one’s music and dance style were completely their own, which made for an excellent show and a no-skips soundtrack to enjoy afterwards. 10/10, I would highly recommend it.

Only on Broadway Moment: Unbeknownst to us at the time, the queen who was absent that week was replaced by someone who many people were scrambling to see live – Keri Rene Fuller. We were absolutely blown away by her performance.

In summary: don’t forget to enter lotteries, stage-door safely, and rush responsibly. Have fun!