Standing Room Only and SRO Discount Tickets to Broadway Shows in New York City
The hands-down cheapest way to get into a Broadway show is to get a Standing Room Only, or SRO, ticket. It's often only the very top, sold-out Broadway shows that offer this service as a way for people with little money to see the show. Broadway show producers often provide this method to see a show at a very low price, it also pushes a popular show over the edge of 100% full, often you will see popular Broadway shows at 101% full, which means that they sold some SRO tickets to their performances.
How Much Do The SRO Tickets Cost?
Not all Broadway shows offer Standing Room Only tickets, but for the ones that do, the average cost of these deeply discounted tickets is about $25. The catch is that you don't get an actual seat to the show. Usually Standing Room Only ticket holders are lined up against a short partition at the back of the orchestra and allowed to view the performance from there.
What Is the SRO Experience Like?
Because the SRO "seats" are generally way in the back or at the sides of the theater, the view may be partially obstructed, the standing conditions cramped, the partition walls may be high, the audio may be impaired, and the general experience can vary from lousy to mediocre - but you are in the Broadway show audience to a sold-out Broadway show and it only cost you $25, so it's still a bargain whatever way you look at it.
Can You Move To A Vacant Seat?
On occasion, a kind usher might allow someone with an SRO ticket to sit down if an empty seat is located, but this is rare, so you shouldn't count on it. Most likely you will have to stand for the full length of the show, and that can be a challenge for some, so make sure you're up to it. You can usually lean against the partition or rest your arms and head on it, but there's no remedy for achy feet. Also, if you're planning to bring a child, or if you are of short stature, be aware that the partition is usually fairly high, so ask the ticket agent about that before you buy Standing Room Only tickets. Studies have shown that people who stand to see a Broadway show actually remember more about the show, but also have a negative lasting impression of the discomfort of standing for up to 2 hours. 40% of patrons who do SRO say they would not do it again.
Vacant Seats After Intermission
If the show has an intermission, vacant seats can become available after intermission. Some of the audience decides that they don't want to continue seeing the show for whatever reason, but bear in mind that this is a sold-out show so seats are already scarce. The usher will manage these empty seats and may move SRO ticket holders into them if they become available. Ushers get very upset in SRO ticket holders move themselves into seats that they perceive as available.
How Many SRO TIckets Are Available?
Every Broadway theatre is different as there are logistical issues with amount of space available, without obstructing fire exits, causing annoyance to seated ticket holders, and reducing the quality of the performance for the actors or production crew.
SRO Tickets Are Usually For Sold-Out Performances Only
Most Broadway shows only offer SRO tickets for sold-out performances (hence the name Standing Room Only). With some hit Broadway shows, when they're in their prime, you can pretty much guarantee they will be sold out. But with others, it may vary day to day, so you won't know until you go to the box office and ask. You also may want to inquire about whether they sell one SRO ticket per person or two, as that tends to vary per show. There are a handful of Broadway shows that break this rule and offer SRO tickets to all shows.
What Broadway Shows Offer Standing Room Only Tickets
The list of shows that offer SRO tickets changes from day to day, but a show summary can be found at: List of Shows with Standing Room Tickets
When Are SRO Tickets Sold
Standing Room Only tickets are only sold at the box office on the day of the performance, but the exact time that they start selling the SRO tickets is different depending on the Broadway show. If you come too early, the box office attendant may ask you to return at a later time to see if they have anything available. If the box office has a set time that they begin selling SRO tickets, then you may have to get in line at the theater much earlier than that time because SRO is the cheapest way to see a hit Broadway show and therefore the tickets are often in high demand. They are always sold first come first served, never in a lottery, so early arrival at the box office can be crucial to getting a Standing Room Only ticket. Oftentimes the box office will only accept cash payment for SRO tickets, so come prepared.