Buying cheap Broadway tickets is about to become a whole lot easier. As most New Yorkers know, the standard way to score discount seats is to line up near the big red steps of the TKTS booth in Times Square, which sells reduced-price tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway shows such as Fun Home, Fiddler on the Roof, The Color Purple, Beautiful, Waitress and even the new Broadway litter of Cats. You can save as much as 50%, but the discounts come at a price: You have to spend time in Times Square, which, as most New Yorkers also know, is a Boschian hellscape.
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Now there's a better way! Starting tomorrow, the organization that runs TKTS—Theatre Development Fund, or TDF—is teaming up with Lincoln Center to offer a pop-up TKTS booth in the box office of the arts center’s David Rubenstein Atrium on Broadway at 62nd Street. Here’s our guide to what’s great about the new Lincoln Center TKTS booth, and how to get around its few minor drawbacks.
1. It’s not in Times Square. The main TKTS booth (on Broadway at 47th Street) is a beloved theater landmark, but to get to it you must navigate a selfie-sticky wicket of hapless tourists, unending construction projects, aggressive knockoff Olafs and topless ladies with American flags painted on their boobs. Lincoln Center, by contrast, is an urban Eden.
2. But it’s close to Times Square. TKTS has two other non–Times Square locations, in Brooklyn and at the South Street Seaport. But those are far from most of the theaters where the shows you’re buying tickets for are playing. The pop-up TKTS is much closer; the theater district is a brief walk or local-subway ride away.
3. It’s indoors. Unlike the other three TKTS booths, the one at Lincoln Center doesn’t leave you at the mercy of the summer rain and/or heat. Maybe this should have been the first thing we mentioned.
4. It opens earlier. The TKTS in Times Square starts selling tickets to evening shows at 3pm daily (or 2pm on Tuesdays). The one at Lincoln Center opens at noon—which gives you more time for planning, and perhaps a better chance of snagging tickets to the shows you most want to see.
5. It sells matinee tickets on both the day before and the day of the show. The Times Square TKTS only sells matinee tickets for performances later the same day (mostly on Wednesdays and weekends). The satellite Brooklyn and Seaport booths only sell tickets to matinees the next day. Only the Lincoln Center version sells both. This is a small point, but it increases your options as a ticket buyer.
1. It’s closed on Sundays and Mondays. This is not as big a drawback as it may seem, since most shows only perform matinees on Sundays—tickets to which can be purchased the day before—and do not perform on Mondays at all. But the booths at Times Square and the South Street Seaport are open on both days. (Here are the operating hours for all four booths.)
2. It isn't on the TKTS app. TKTS offers an excellent app and website that tell you exactly what is available at each of its locations. The Lincoln Center booth is not included on the app. However, the booths mostly draw from the same pool of available tickets, so if you use the app's list for the South Street Seaport TKTS you should be good to go.
3. It may not offer every show. The Times Square booth uses a slightly wider database of shows, and sometimes a few smaller Off Broadway productions are not available at the other three booths. It's extremely likely that the productions you’re interested in will be for sale at all four TKTS locations, but you may want to use the TKTS app to compare the Times Square booth with the satellites, in case your heart is set on a show that is only for sale in Times Square. (On the bright side, some of Lincoln Center's music and dance offerings will only be available at the pop-up location.)
4. It won’t be around for long—or will it? The Lincoln Center TKTS booth is only scheduled to operate from August 2 through October 29. If the experiment is a success, however, TDF may be inspired to bring it back, or at least consider other long-term expansion ideas. “It will be interesting to see whether New Yorkers take advantage of a location which is not in the middle of Times Square, which we know New Yorkers don’t love,” TDF’s executive director, Victoria Bailey, told the New York Times. “If we suddenly find there are lots of people coming to buy tickets who live in New York but are not using the booth and are not going to Broadway, that gives you something to think about.”