Get to Know the Broadway Ticket Lottery

Get to Know the Broadway Ticket Lottery

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Love Broadway shows, but hate Broadway ticket prices? So do we. But we may have a solution for you. A number of hit shows are utilizing a new Broadway ticket lottery where anyone can get cheap Broadway tickets.

For the groundbreaking production, “Hamilton,” the word ‘cheap’ doesn’t even exist. Tickets for the sold-out Broadway hit are topping out at over $2,000, so the show’s producers instituted a policy to sell all front-row tickets at a curbside lottery for only $10.

Many shows are now offering severely discounted tickets, and not only through Broadway ticket lotteries. You can find more affordable options online, in the form of rush tickets and as standing room tickets, too. For those willing to spend the time searching, or for those willing to bet on their luck at a Broadway ticket lottery, these options may be worth exploring. Details of the drawing schedules and other special offers are best obtained by visiting the website of the show you are interested in seeing, or by visiting informational sites like Playbill.

I attended a recent “Hamilton” lottery drawing where a crowd of about two hundred gathered in front of the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The attendees exuded a festive, holiday energy and the staff members conducted the lottery like carnival barkers: they kept the line moving and maintained order while providing a little pre-drawing entertainment.

Though each show has its own rules and policies, you can get a general idea of the process by observing how the “Hamilton” lottery functions: Two hours before curtain, names are drawn at random from a large bowl. One entry per person is allowed and slips are checked for duplication prior to the drawing – the staff watches this process closely. Winners need to be present at the time of the drawing and must show valid identification in order to purchase tickets – which must be paid for in cash. Sometimes, after the completion of the front-row drawing, there is an additional drawing for any available standing room tickets. Those go for $40 a piece.

The tradition of the Broadway ticket lottery isn’t new. It started with Rent when its producers wanted to make more tickets available to young theatregoers. Today more and more shows are joining the movement as ticket prices continue to reach new heights.

As Alexander Hamilton observed in the debates of the Federal Convention in 1787, “All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, the other the mass of the people…” With the Broadway ticket lottery, “the many” have the chance to enjoy what “the few” do, all in exchange for that $10 bill on which Hamilton calls home.

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