Broadway Tickets: Examples of Physical Broadway Tickets and Electronic Broadway tickets that have different characteristics, costs and risks
Printed Broadway Tickets
Broadway tickets are printed on 48lb card stock with a barcode on the RHS stub and the show information on the LHS. The LHS of the ticket also acted as the receipt that would allow the holder to gain re-entry to a show or act as the receipt for expenses or tax purposes. These old style "Physical" Broadway tickets are still distributed or held at the box office for some transactions, but now the bar code is usually scanned at the door rather than being ripped off.
Although these Broadway tickets still look pretty much the same as they have for the past few decades (roughly 5x2 inches), they are now printed on-demand instead of being pre-printed (i.e. they are only printed when a physical ticket is necessary).
Electronic Broadway Tickets
Introduced over the last few years, electronic Broadway Tickets aren't really tickets at all, they are just a right to get into the theater when the physical tickets don't exist. The electronic Broadway ticket is usually a web page or a PDF that you can print out that has a scannable bar code on it, so the ticket taker at the theatre can just scan the printed page as you enter the theater.
Some enterprising patrons have tried to present just the bar code at the door (sometimes it's even stored electronically on their PDA or mobile phone) to gain entry to a Broadway show, but generally speaking this is not accepted by the theatre as they don't take well to new technology.
Bar Codes Are Everywhere
A recent change has been the addition of bar codes on Broadway Tickets. Bar codes now exist on both the physical tickets and electronic Broadway tickets. All Broadway theaters now scan your Broadway tickets with a hand scanner (or they scan your printed page with the barcode on it) rather than tearing off the ticket stub as they did in the past. The scanning process can spot fake tickets or duplicates quickly as only one set of valid tickets for those seats can get into the theatre.
Broadway Tickets Examples
Below are examples of physical Broadway Tickets from some recent, and some not-so-recent, Broadway Shows:
Ticketmaster and Telecharge
Most Broadway tickets are sold and distributed through Ticketmaster and Telecharge. Ticketmaster is a major ticket vendor that handles concerts, sporting events, and a variety of performance events, so Broadway tickets are just a small part of their business. Telecharge, on the other hand, almost exclusively deals with Broadway, Off-Broadway, and New York City performing arts event tickets.
Broadway Ticket Discounters
A "go-between" Broadway (and Off-Broadway) ticket seller is the TKTS booth, but in that case, the Broadway tickets are actually much cheaper than the normal price that you would pay through Ticketmaster, Telecharge, or even at the box office. There are other discount Broadway ticket services available too, but with most of those services you will directly contact one of the official ticket vendors, or visit the box office, and present them with a special code that allows you to get your Broadway tickets at an inexpensive price.
Broadway Ticket Brokers
Anyone else who sells Broadway tickets is a Broadway ticket broker. These Broadway ticketing agencies mark up the Broadway ticket price before they sell it, so patrons end up paying more for Broadway tickets than they would through Ticketmaster or Telecharge. Some Broadway ticket brokers sort of "disguise" themselves. If you get your tickets through Broadway.com, for instance, you will pay a significant charge for their service (which is simply to act as a middleman between you and the official ticket vendor), meaning that you pay quite a bit more than if you had purchased your Broadway tickets directly.
Keeping The Broadway Memories Alive
Many people, even after they've seen a Broadway show, keep their Broadway ticket as a souvenir of their trip to New York City. Putting your Playbill and Broadway ticket stub in a scrapbook along with pictures from the trip is a great way to remember yet another wonderful Broadway experience.