Students Can Get Discount Tickets to Broadway Shows with Student Rush, Provided They Aren't Too Picky About The Show, Can Get To The Theatre Early and Have Patience to Wait In Line.
To nurture a younger generation of theatergoers, some Broadway musicals and plays offer affordably priced tickets to students, but the list of shows offering this gets smaller every year. Many shows are now switching to the "General Rush" policy, where anyone can "rush" for tickets, not just students. Also see the Rush Ticket Schedule
The student service is known as "Student Rush tickets" and are discount tickets that are usually priced at $20 to $30 each, although they can sometimes get as high as $50.
Student Rush Ticket Policies
What Are The Rules?
A student ID is required to purchase Student Rush tickets, but many Broadway shows allow the buyer to purchase two tickets with just one Student ID. Some theater box offices require that the Student Rush tickets be paid for with cash, so always be sure to arrive prepared with dollar bills in hand.
As with Anyone and General Rush, the ticket policies for Student Rush tickets vary among Broadway shows. Usually the box offices begin distributing these student tickets when they first open in the morning (most Broadway box offices open at 10 am Monday through Saturday, and Sunday at noon), but some shows don't start selling Student Rush Tickets until a few hours before the performance begins.
Some Seats Set Aside For Student Rush
Some Broadway shows set aside seats specially designated to be sold to students (such as the front row of the orchestra or the rear mezzanine seats), but often Student Rush tickets are subject to availability.
For Broadway shows that aren't selling very many tickets, or for shows that are aimed at an older audience (particularly Broadway plays), discount student tickets are usually fairly easy to get - you may in fact just be able to walk up to the theater box office whenever you please and buy them. But, largely thanks to the existence of Student Rush tickets, some shows gain a strong youth following, making the competition for these tickets fierce.
Long Line of Students At Box Office
It's not unusual for there to be a long line of students waiting outside the most popular Broadway shows, long before the theater box office has even opened for business. For one of the first Broadway shows to offer Rush tickets, the smash hit musical Rent, fans would often camp out in front of the theater overnight in order to get the student rush tickets!
The 2nd Person Does Not Have To Be A Student
Just about any kind of student (for example, high school, college, graduate level) qualifies for Student Rush Tickets, as long as they have a valid ID. Some theaters will specifically require that you be a full-time student to get Student Rush Tickets, but usually they don't specify. And because many theater box offices will let a person with a student ID purchase two Student Rush Tickets, the second person doesn't actually have to be a student.
Plays More Available Than Musicals
There is no real guaranteed way to determine how early you need to arrive at the theater box office to get Student Rush Tickets. As we mentioned before, it's usually easier for plays, or for more adult-oriented musicals that don't have much youth appeal. But if you want to get Rush Tickets for a Broadway show that you know is really popular or that you suspect might have a particularly rabid cult following (do some searching online to figure this out), then it's a good idea to arrive well before the time that the box office is scheduled to start selling the student tickets.
How To Occupy Your Wait Time
Bring a book and some snacks to occupy yourself, and preferably have a friend join you to keep you company. If it's not too inconvenient, you can also do some "surveillance" in advance of the day you want to get your student tickets and see if you notice a line forming early at the theater. This will give you a better idea of when you should arrive. Bear in mind that days make a difference too - inevitably there will be more competition for tickets on a weekend or holidays, when other ticket buyers don't have to be at work.
Most Broadway Shows Switching To 'General Rush'
Many Broadway shows are now switching the "General Rush" model, where anyone can "rush" for tickets. This means that anyone that can get to the theatre early enough can get in line to get these heavily discounted Broadway tickets. The thinking is that students actually have more money than the unemployed and by opening the rush tickets to all people who have time on their hands is a lot fairer.
This means as more Broadway shows move to 'general rush' the 'student rush' and student discounts for Broadway shows are becoming a thing of the past. It is somewhat ironic that the word 'rush' actually came from colleges 'rush week', but has now been co-opted by Broadway for a non-student specific 'rush' for tickets.