Without Fanfare Or Celebration, Wicked On Broadway Has Ended Its In-Person Ticket Lottery That Has Been Running For Over 21 Years Since The Show Began Way Back In 2003.

End Of Broadway's In-Person Ticket Lotteries After Wicked Ends Its 18 Year Run

In Person Ticket Lotteries Began With Rent

The hit Broadway show Rent brought the first in-person ticket lottery to the Broadway stage, but after Rent closed in 2006, it was then Wicked that carried the mantle as the only show offering a ticket lottery. This continued for many years as other Broadway shows like Matilda came an went and offered an in-person experience to win tickets, but Wicked soldiered on.

26 Tickets Were Given Out For Every Performance

Great tickets for Wicked could be won in the Gershwin Theatre breezeway in the ticket lottery that opened two and a half hours before each performance began. Winners were announced thirty minutes later - two hours before the performance. There were cries of joy and there were often some tears.

The in-person lottery scene at the Gershwin often looked like a cross between an eclectic-nerd party and the first day of school. A gaggle of all different kinds of people, jittery about their chances to win the $25 tickets (later raised to $40) Some were lucky, some were not, but there was always another day.

Wicked Ticket Lottery Inspired The Hamilton Ticket Lottery

When Hamilton opened in 2015, it took its lead from Wicked and immediately offered front-row seats for $10 in their in-person ticket lottery. They took the Wicked idea and also started doing impromptu performances in the street before the lottery - which then lead to road closures on 46th street as throngs of people would turn up for the ticket lottery and the street-show and block traffic for an hour.

Things got so out-of-hand they had to cancel the whole operation - but it was Wicked's Susan Sampliner at 321 Theatrical Management who gave them the initial idea, lest the credit be lost to the sands of time.

Wicked Was The Only Ticket Lottery On Broadway For Many Years

For many years, the Wicked ticket lottery was the only ticket lottery on the Great White Way, with most Broadway show producers sniggering at the very thought of it. But as the adoption of the web became more mainstream, Broadway producers started to play with the idea and now over 17 Broadway shows offer ticket lotteries, albeit all online.

Some of the ticket lotteries capture a little of the spirit of the in-person Wicked lottery, but the ticket lotteries run by The Shubert Organization appear to be a cynical data-grab for promotion purposes, requiring users to give them access to their social media accounts - Ugh. The Wicked lottery was shining example of how to do it right that will live on only in our memories.

All Broadway Ticket Lotteries Now Moved To Web

The Wicked ticket lottery was the last hold-out to survive as in-person lottery as all the other Broadway shows have now switched to the web version, which is easier and cheaper to manage, but lacks the gravitas that the in-person experience brought to Broadway theatregoers.

Of course Wicked also has its own online digital ticket lottery now, but its a far cry from those heady Y2K days on the breezeway, where shouts of excitement and disappointment joined together a rag-tag group of rabid Wicked fans - if only for a few minutes.