Discounted ticket programs offer students affordable access to live theatre


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Caryl Anne Francia, Business Editor

With the curtains up and neon lights bright, New York City’s theater district invites audiences for an enriching cultural experience, but the cost may be out of reach for students.

Although a ticket to a Broadway show can cost over $50, CUNY students may create free accounts for several ticket-providing programs aimed at making theatre affordable for them.

1.  Theater Development Fund

The Theater Development Fund is a nonprofit organization aimed at making theatre affordable and accessible to all audiences, including CUNY students through the CUNY Arts Initiative.

The “Broadway Passport Series” program lets students purchase, at most nine, tickets for a Broadway show. Each ticket goes for as low as $20 and as high as $40, plus a $4 service charge.

The seating for a $20 ticket may be anywhere in the theater but most likely on the balcony or in the rear mezzanine sections. A $40 ticket guarantees a seat in the orchestra or front mezzanine sections.

The list of shows offered by the passport program rotates every few weeks. As of Dec. 1, the program offers tickets for the jukebox musical “& Juliet,” the comedic play “Ain’t No Mo’,” the musical adaptation of the 2000 film “Almost Famous” the dramatic play “Leopoldstadt” and comedian Mike Birbiglia’s comedy show “The Old Man and the Pool.”

Additionally, TDF Community Partners offers students a reduced TDF membership price of $10 by using the code “CUNYArts” when purchasing. The program offers tickets for a variety of live performances for as low as $11 and as high as $57.

Students must choose, however, between the passport program or reduced membership.

2.  TodayTix

TodayTix allows theatergoers to create free accounts to purchase tickets at a reduced price.

The ticketing platform provides a seamless way to order same-day rush tickets online, without queueing at a theater’s box office in the morning. Customers who purchase these tickets will not know their seating location until they complete their transaction.

Several shows such as “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “Merrily We Go Along” offer lotteries for cheap tickets.

3.  Manhattan Theatre Club’s “30 Under 35” 

The Manhattan Theatre Club is a theatre company that runs shows in Broadway and OffBroadway venues.

Per the name of its “30 Under 35” program, MTC offers $30 tickets to all of its shows for customers under the age of 35. In comparison, regular ticket prices for current shows such as“The Collaboration” are offered as low as $85.

4.  Lincoln Center Theater’s “LincTix”

Lincoln Center Theater is a theater company based in the same namesake complex that houses the Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic. Its venues include the Broadway-sized Vivian Beaumont Theater, the off-Broadway-sized Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater and Claire Tow Theater.

The company’s “LincTix” program offers a limited number of $32 tickets plus a $2 facility fee to theatergoers between ages 21 and 35. Members are also sent invitations to free post-show parties and advanced ticket sales.

5.  New York City Center’s “Access City Center Club”

The New York City Center is an off-Broadway venue that is known for its “Encores!” revivals of Broadway shows, including the musicals “Chicago” and “Into The Woods,” which both transferred to Broadway theaters.

The theater’s “Access City Center Club” program offers tickets for $25 plus a $3 facility fee to theatergoers under 35. The program limits customers to purchase two tickets at a time.

Current students can also purchase $20 same-day rush tickets, which include a $3 facility fee. A student must provide a student ID card with a photo to the box office on the day they want to see a performance.

6.  Roundabout Theatre Co.’s “HipTix”

The Roundabout Theatre Co. is a nonprofit theater company with three Broadway venues and two off-Broadway venues.

The company’s “Hiptix” program offers a limited number of tickets for $30, plus a $2 facility fee. Theatergoers between ages 18 and 40 can sign up for free accounts and vie for at most two tickets.

Roundabout also offers the “Generation Roundabout and “Hiptix Gold programs for cheap, last-minute tickets with better seating. A gold membership costs $100, while a generation membership costs as low as $200.