Many Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters are now offering Under 30 and Under 35 discount ticket programs for people in their 20s and early 30s.
It started out with student discounts - discounted tickets meant to encourage young people to take an interest in the theater, an art form that seems to attract an overwhelmingly older-than-average audience. But over time it's become apparent that that's not enough. A combination of a troubled economy, the tendency of many college-age arts enthusiasts to become so-called "starving artists," or the simple fact that most entry-level jobs don't pay that well, the reality is that many people under 30 years old don't have any more spare cash today than they did in college. (Indeed some people in their 20s have less, without the financial support that their parents offered them while in school.)
In response to this situation, many theaters and theater producers have started Under 30, Under 35, and "youth" discount programs that include people up to 30, 35, and, even in rare cases, up to 40 years old. These age specific discounted tickets are generally roughly the same price as your standard student tickets, though they are typically a little more difficult to get. Rather than just strolling up to the box office, theatergoers in their 20s and early 30s usually have to sign up online for one of these special Under 30 and Under 35 programs -- and available show dates are often limited. But even these small obstacles make these special youth discount programs very worthwhile for theater lovers who want to see great shows at substantial discounts.
Non-Profit Broadway Theaters Offer Under 30 and Under 35 Discount Tickets
Unlike student tickets, which are offered by many (if not most) commercial Broadway productions, the programs for theater patrons under 30 and under 35 are only offered by the non-profit theaters. Each of the major not-for-profit theater companies that produce on Broadway have a discount program like this.
Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC), which presents its Broadway productions at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, calls its discount program for people ages 30 and younger the 30 UNDER 30 Club.
*Free to register
*30 UNDER 30 members can get up to 2 tickets to each MTC production, pending availability
*Your guest can be any age, but you have to pick up the tickets
*Tickets are $30 each
*MTC sends out alert emails with lists of available performances coming up
*30 UNDER 30 tickets can be purchased at the box office, by phone, or online
Roundabout Theatre Company (which presents its Broadway productions at Studio 54, the American Airlines Theatre, and the Stephen Sondheim Theatre) calls its initiative for people ages 18 to 35 HIPTIX.
*Free to join
*HIPTIX tickets are $20 for all Roundabout shows
*Purchase up to 2 tickets, in advance (your guest must also show proof of age)
*Roundabout generally reserves 10-40 seats at each performance for HIPTIX members
*Seats are usually in the mezzanine (or pay $75 to become a HIPTIX Gold member and upgrade to orchestra seats)
*Friends can "link accounts," making it easier to buy their discounted tickets together
For theatergoers ages 21-35, Lincoln Center Theater (LCT) offers the LincTix discount ticket program.
*Membership is free
*Purchase advance tickets for $30 each
*A limited number of LincTix tickets are available for each performance
*Tickets are available for all LCT Broadway shows, even the really popular ones, but you may have to be very flexible about dates/times
Though they are still rare, we have seen a couple of special email offers go out that offer people under 30 the chance to see commercial productions at these kinds of deeply discounted prices. The trick with those is that it's usually very limited or for just one performance.
More Discount Ticket Opportunities for People in Their 20s and 30s Available Off-Broadway
All three of the theater companies mentioned above -- Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Lincoln Center Theater -- offer their under-30 and under-35 ticket discounts for their Off-Broadway productions as well as their Broadway shows. Although Broadway gets more attention, those companies do major work (often featuring well-known stars) in their Off-Broadway theaters, and sometimes it is even better than what you will see on Broadway.
Numerous other New York City Off-Broadway theater companies have started offering special discounts for twentysomethings and thirtysomethings. As with Broadway, these are usually the non-profit companies, but those theaters produce much of the most interesting fare on the Off-Broadway scene.
*The prestigious Second Stage Theatre, located in the heart of the theater district, has Youth Advance Tickets, which are available to those aged 30 and under for $30 (though they are subject to availability).
*The Irish Rep has a free-to-join program for people under 35 years old called GreenSeats that lets members purchase tickets for $20 each.
*Playwrights Horizons offers a 30 & Under Membership in which you pay $20 upfront and then you can get tickets for $20 each (bring one guest aged 30 or under for an additional $25).
Even some commercial Off-Broadway productions are getting in on the act. The recent Off-Broadway musical Voca Peopleoffered $30 Under 30 discount tickets. Other commercial Off-Broadway producers might start offering these initiatives as well if they find that they're a good way of bringing in a younger crowd.
Ticket Discounts For Younger Patrons Are An Investment in the Future
Anybody who has been to a production by a non-profit Broadway or Off-Broadway theater knows that the membership of these theaters skews quite old. Offering discounted tickets to people on the younger end of the spectrum (even 35-year olds, which is young in the theater world) is often considered to be an investment in the future. Many regional theaters provide these discounts as well, hoping to nurture upcoming generations of theater subscribers. (The Milwaukee Repertory Theater, for instance, has gone so far as to create an "Under 40" program.)
The potential problem is that most productions can't sustain themselves by selling $20 and $30 tickets, so it doesn't necessarily benefit them if these programs get too popular. However, it is well-known that people in this age group are often avid participants in social networking, so the hope may be that they serve as a method of advertising by getting other friends interested through word-of-mouth.