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Sneaky Ways to Get Cheap(er) Theater Tickets in NYC

Equity in the Arts
A roll of red "Admit One" tickets on a wood surface. Behind the roll, pamplets and fliers for theater productions.

One of the greatest shames of making theater in New York is the people making it often don't have the funds to actually attend, because, as Matthew Paul Olmos so eloquently stated, There is No Money in the American Theater. The cost of living is so high that New Yorkers don't always have the disposable income to spend on cultural events. (Fun Fact: Cost of Living is also the title of a play by 2015-16 PoNY Fellow Martyna Majok, produced by Manhattan Theater Club - one of the theaters offering a 30 Under 30 deal)! Many theater goers know about some of the more popular chances to see free or discounted shows in the city, like Student and General Rush policies, The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park and Free First Previews, and of course The Lark! Where, don't forget, all our public programs are free of charge (check out our Upcoming Events here). But for those of us who may not have a day to spend on a beach towel in Central Park, who have lost our old student ID's, or who just don't look enough like the pictures on them anymore, there are still a few ways to reallocate your laundry quarters to go see a show. Check out the ones we've rounded up below, and add your own tricks in the comments section!

The Playwrights Realm's "1 to 5 Ticket Drive"

For the first five previews of any Playwrights Realm mainstage production, snag tickets priced at only $1-$5! (The sooner you get it, the cheaper it will be). They sell out quickly, so you may want to consider following the Realm on Twitter or subscribing to their mailing list to get first dibs. MORE INFORMATION

Soho Rep's 99 Cent Sundays

On select Sundays, Soho Rep makes 99 cent tickets available for same day performances, sold at the box office beginning 30 minutes prior to curtain. Unlike other rush ticket policies, no other tickets are sold in advance for these performances! Every seat in the house is sold for 99 cents. Even still, the seats will be in high demand, and a line begins forming as much as several hours before curtain. So get there early, and uh, cash only. MORE INFORMATION

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

There is no apostrophe in the name Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, but I often add one to the word Playwrights' by mistake, probably because the work they do is so wholly for artists. They create a home for emerging artists not only on their stage (playwrights whose work is produced are guaranteed a second production), but also in their audiences. $20 Artist Tickets are available at all performances, with ticket buyers able to self-identify as artists. No AEA card or other ID required! In addition, through the Rattlestick Usher Program, anyone willing and able can volunteer to be an usher at a Rattlestick show and see it completely for free! MORE INFORMATION


Lincoln Center's discount program offers $32 tickets to anyone 21 to 35 years old. It's free to join, and membership lasts through the end of the calendar year that holds your 36th birthday. A block of LincTix tickets are available at all Lincoln Center performances, at both their Broadway and Off-Broadway houses. Tickets can be bought in advance and online! MORE INFORMATION

Theater Development Fund (TDF)

This may not be the sneakiest organization out there. It's hard to miss the giant red steps of the TKTS Booth smack in the middle of Times Square (operated by TDF). But perhaps slightly lesser known is the TDF Membership. For $30 a year, gain access to steeply discounted tickets for select theater events throughout the city. The highest price you'll ever pay is $47, which is the standard for any Broadway musicals available through TDF. Broadway plays are usually priced at $41, Off-Broadway ranges from about $18-30, and Off-off Broadway shows are always only $9! MORE INFORMATION

The American Theatre Wing's Theatre Intern Network

As the name suggests, you'll have to a be an intern (or apprentice) working in the theater industry to get in on this deal. And thankfully, this program has a slightly more immediate effect for "paying your dues." For a $10 membership fee, good for an entire year, you can expect to receive offers for comp tickets on a regular basis (around 40 shows per year!). On top of that, take advantage of the invites to exclusive networking opportunities, panels, and seminars for emerging theater professionals. MORE INFORMATION

30 Under 30 Deals

Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC)

Patrons 30 years old and younger have access to a pair of tickets priced at $30 each for all MTC productions while stock lasts. Your guest can be any age! MORE INFORMATION

Second Stage

Patrons 30 years old and younger can purchase $30 tickets by phone, at the box office, or online if a "Youth Ticket" option appears at checkout (if not, chances are 30 Under 30 tickets are sold out for that performance). Each production at Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theater also hosts a 30 Under 30 After Party, so be on the look out for that invite as well! MORE INFORMATION

MCC Theater

Patrons 29 years old and younger can purchase tickets online, in advance, while supplies last, to any MCC show using the discount code 30U30. No sign up required! MORE INFORMATION