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Buying Discount Tickets at the TKTS Booth

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Buying Discount Tickets at the TKTS Booth

New TKTS Booth-Times Square

Photo by Paul Cozby

Simple Steps to Theater Savings at TKTS :

You've likely heard about buying discount theater tickets at the Theatre Development Fund's discount sales center called the TKTS Booth in Times Square. Here are a few easy steps to prepare you how best to take advantage of this great New York bargain on theater tickets. (There also are locations in Brooklyn and at the South Street Seaport. These hints will prepare you for all three.)

What and Where is TKTS? :

TKTS (you pronounced it tee-kay-tee-ess) is a discount ticket service run by the non-profit Theatre Development Fund. It sells steeply discounted tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway shows.

The main TKTS booth is in Times Square, toward the north end, where 47th crosses Broadway and Seventh, in Duffy Square. It is easily identifiable by the lighted red staircase facing south. TKTS is under the stairs. Lines form in Duffy Square and move north to the TKTS windows, which face 47th.

Choosing Your Arrival Time :

There are always lines when TKTS is open, but don't let that put you off. The lines move quickly, and even at peak times you won't wait more than about 40 minutes. Considering what you can save, isn't that worth it?

If it is important that you get tickets to the hottest show TKTS has, then arrive at least half an hour before the booth opens, either for matinee or evening performances.

If you're OK with taking your chances on whatever is available, go about an hour after the booth opens when the opening rush has died down.

Remember, you'll always find a line. The line will always move fast.

How to Know What's On :

First, watch this site for articles on which shows are hot. It's pretty simply, really hot shows won't be on TKTS.

Second, sign up at the Theatre Development Fund for a daily e-mail of what's available. (You can opt out at any time.)

How Do They Do This? :

Simple: Supply and demand. If a show is not selling out, producers will make a certain number of tickets available to TKTS. Better to sell them discounted than not at all.

Shows available on TKTS can literally vary hour-to-hour. You never know when a big group is in town or a show gathers steam for some reasons.

So TKTS is not your best bet if you must see a certain show on a certain date. For most theatergoers, however, it's a great way to see good shows for a bargain price, usually 25 percent to 50 percent off, plus a $3 per ticket charge.

I'm in Line, What Next? :

With the opening of the remodled booth, you can now pay with credit cards or cash, so it's easier to shop. Here's how:

  • Just check the computerized boards as you are in line

  • Select a first and second choice of shows you want to see

  • Once inside the glass-enclosed area, move quickly to the shortest line you see. (Most people go to the closest window, but you don't have to.)

  • At the window, tell the TKTS rep what show and how many tickets. He or she will tell you if they are available and what they cost.

  • Be certain to double check that your tickets are for the date and time you want.

Don't Buy Off the Street :

In case the headline of the section is unlcear, again: Don't buy tickets off the street. It's not worth the risk.

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