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Scoring Seats for a Broadway
Look Online To Find a Bargain;
A Bat's-Eye View
SPECIAL TO THE
2007; Page D6
Getting last-minute tickets to a Broadway show often means
standing in line at the box office for a chance to get "rush" seats that
are released shortly before the curtain rises, or joining the queue at the
TKTS booth near Times Square, where discounted seats are sold the day of
the show. A third option has cropped up in recent times: Web sites that
help theatergoers snag discount seats.
Whether you're a local or an out-of-towner planning a
theatergoing trip, such online ticket services also can be useful if
you're willing to fork over whatever it takes to get a few choice seats to
a Tony-worthy show. But the fees can sting, and even the seats you're
buying may be a mystery until after you've paid your money.
To see if such sites are a good place to get decent seats
or if you end up with a partial-view seat behind a concrete pillar, we
bought tickets to Broadway plays and musicals from five online services.
We tried for discount tickets, last-minute seats and spots at a sold-out
musical. All but one site charged jumbo service fees and two required
subscriptions for access. Most of them were fairly easy to use.
An annoying issue: the inability to pick particular seats.
Instead, most of the sites let us choose by section only. Flexibility with
dates was another concern. If you're willing to pick a weekday performance
or place an order at least a week or two in advance, you can typically get
steep discounts from some of the sites. But if you have a specific weekend
date in mind on short notice, you'll probably have to pay regular prices,
as well as anywhere from a few dollars to $23 in service fees -- or select
a different show.
We bought a $4 per month subscription to nytix.com's
Broadway Ticket Guide to receive discount codes. We wanted seats to the
musical "Jersey Boys." But we found only options for "rush" tickets. Our
second choice, "The Drowsy Chaperone," offered similar results. Finally,
we found a discount code for "Butley" and called Ticketmaster to get the
lower price. We scored two orchestra seats for $65 apiece ($30 off the
regular price) plus $5.95 in handling fees per ticket.
When we went in search of tickets to "The Vertical Hour" at
Broadwaybox, we were sent to other sites to get promotional codes and
to actually buy the tickets. It took about a half hour to buy two tickets
for $65 each with $15.50 in service charges. Regular price was $96.25, but
the discount wasn't much better than other offers we've found on the Web
or in mailers.
We visited Gotickets.com in hopes of taking our parents,
who were in town for a few days, to the musical "Wicked," which usually
sells only at premium prices. After selecting our show two weeks in
advance of the date we wanted, the site listed all the tickets available
for the Saturday-night show. We picked seats that gave us an eye-level
view of the fiery mechanical bat flapping its wings above the stage. But
the price was even more frightening: $185 apiece, or $75 above the face
At Broadway.com, we picked our performance day for
"Company," chose orchestra seats and requested an aisle seat with a full
view of the stage. We ended up with middle-aisle spots that obscured a
part of the stage. We coughed up a $22 per-ticket fee on top of the full
ticket price: $110 (plus a $1.25 facility fee).
Entertainment Link charged $39 for a six-month
subscription. At the last minute, we tried to get three Saturday tickets
to "The Producers." But the site showed no discount seats available until
the next Tuesday, too late for a relative's visit. A few steps later, we
had three spots ($110 each) in the front mezzanine, and the $15 charge for
holding the tickets at the theater was mysteriously waived. The same seats
discounted would have been $65.
Jason Leow and Shivani Vora contributed to this article.
Discount broadway ticket offer comparisions
||$185 per ticket, plus $10
||Good seats, considering the show
has mostly sold out since it opened in 2003. Useful for getting
tickets for must-see shows, if you're willing to pay the high price.
Best to check elsewhere first for discounted tickets. |
||$110 per ticket, plus $1.25
facility fee, $22 service fee/$111.25
||You select seats by section, but
site allows you to give preferred spots. We received seats with a
partial view despite our special request and the site's claim to
provide only full-view seats. |
||$110 per ticket, plus $1.25
restoration charge, $6.50 for ticketer service fees, $2.50 for
ticketer handling fee (total for order), and $39 for six-month site
subscription. Site waived $15 concierge fee/$111.25
||Choose seats by section but no
preferences option. Site provides useful tidbits upfront, such as
emphasizing that the two actors who made The Producers famous are no
longer in the play, as well as age content-appropriateness. |
|"The Vertical Hour"/Saturday
night/Left orchestra, F5-7
||$65 per ticket plus $15.50
||We were happy with the seats and
the price. The time-out feature is annoying because you have to race
to fill in your personal data and credit-card information; we
received a flood of email spam after using the site. |
|New York Show Tickets/ www.nytix.com
||$65 each plus $5.95 handling fee
per ticket plus $1.25 facility fee per ticket; plus $4 per month
||Subscription gives access to a
discount theater guide. Service is worth it for regular theatergoers
who are open about what to see and when. |