Rush tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway shows can sell for as little as $20 apiece. Go to the theater's box office on the day of the performance to check. In some cases, a few day-of-show tickets are distributed by lottery, with names drawn at the box office a few hours before curtain time. If you don’t mind being on your feet, you can also try for standing-room tickets.
The most traditional way to find deeply discounted seats is to wait in line, on the day of the show, at Theatre Development Fund’s TKTS Booth under the red steps in Duffy Square (47th Street and Broadway). Download the TKTS app to see what is available. You can also try the downtown TKTS South Street Seaport Booth (corner of Front and John Streets) or TKTS Downtown Brooklyn (One MetroTech Center at the corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue), which sell matinee tickets a day early. The Times Square booth has a "Play Only" window that may cut down your wait time. For hours and details, visit tdf.org.
For $30, if you're eligible, you can get an annual membership to TDF, which lets you get ticket deals days or weeks before the show. TDF also lets you see Off-Off Broadway shows for just $9 through its OffOff@9 program.
The Internet offers many other options for those who want to plan farther in advance. One reliable Broadway-discount clearing house is nytix.com; membership costs $4 per month. Good discount codes can be also be found at BroadwayBox, Broadway Insider and Entertainment-Link. Consider visiting all of these sites and shopping around for the best bargain. The TodayTix app, launched in 2013, lets you find cheap seats on your mobile phone.
The city’s biggest nonprofit theaters all have programs aimed at encouraging younger audiences. Theatergoers ages 18 to 35 can buy tickets to Roundabout Theatre Company for just $20 to $25 per show by joining its Hiptix program. If you want cheaper tickets for Lincoln Center Theater and you're between 21 and 35, join LCT's LincTix program, through which you can get $32 tickets to all shows. Manhattan Theatre Club’s 30 Under 30 program, as the name suggests, allows patrons 30 or younger to buy tickets for $30. Some major Off Broadway companies, such as Playwrights Horizons, offer great programs for theatergoers under 30.
Students have access to many special discounts to Broadway and Off Broadway productions. Among the best resources to find them are Tix4Students.com and StudentRush.org. Librarians, teachers and students can pick up vouchers for 30 to 50 percent off through the School Theatre Ticket Program at schooltix.com. And student ages 13 to 18 can buy $5 tickets to many Off and Off-Off Broadway productions through High 5 Tickets to the Arts.
Finally, if you’re looking to combine a little generosity with your thrift, there is Givenik, a brainchild of producer Jordan Roth. When you buy full-price or discounted tickets there, 5 percent of the price goes to a charity of your choice.