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Buying Discount Tickets

The cheapest—though chanciest—ticket opportunities are found at participating theater box offices on the day of the performance. These rush tickets, usually about $25, may be distributed by lottery and are usually for front-row (possibly neck-craning) seats. Check the comprehensive planner on www.nytix.com or go to the box office of the show you are interested in to discover whether they have such an offer and how to pursue it. Obstructed-view seats or those in the very rear balcony are sometimes available for advance purchase; the price point on these is usually in the $35–$40 range.

But for advanced discount purchases, the best seating is likely available by using a discount "code"—procure these codes, good for 20% to 50% off, online. (You will need to register on each website.) The excellent no-subscription-required www.broadwaybox.com site is comprehensive and posts all discount codes currently available for Broadway shows. As with all discount codes offered through online subscriber services—TheaterMania (www.theatermania.com), Playbill (www.playbill.com), and Best of Off Broadway (bestofoffbroadway.com) among them—to avoid service charges, you must bring a printout of the offer to the box office, and make your purchase there.

For seats at 25%–50% off the usual price, go to one of the TKTS booths (Father Duffy Sq., W. 47th St. and Broadway, Midtown West 1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R, S, W to 42nd St./Times Sq.; N, R, W to 49th St.; 1 to 50th St. South St. Seaport, Front and John Sts., Lower Manhattan 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, E, J, M, Z to Fulton St./Broadway–Nassau Downtown Brooklyn, at the Myrtle St. Promenade and Jay St., Brooklyn A, C, F to Jay St.–Borough Hall; R, 2, 3, 4, 5 to Court St.–Borough Hall www.tdf.org). Although they do tack on a $4-per-ticket service charge, and not all shows are predictably available, the broad choices and ease of selection—and of course, the solid discount—make TKTS the go-to source for the flexible theatergoer. Check the electronic listings board near the ticket windows to mull over your options while you're in line. At the spiffed-up Duffy Square location (look for the red glass staircase), there is a separate "Play Express" window (for nonmusical events) to further simplify—and speed—things. Duffy hours are Monday and Wednesday–Saturday 3–8, and Tuesday 2–8 (for evening performances); for Wednesday and Saturday matinees 10–2; for Sunday matinees 11–3; Sunday evening shows, from 3 until a half hour before curtain. Seaport hours are Monday–Saturday 11–6, Sunday 11–4. Brooklyn hours are Tuesday–Saturday 11–6. With the exception of matinee tickets at the Seaport and Brooklyn locations, which sell these for next-day performances only, all shows offered are for that same day. Credit cards, cash, or traveler's checks are accepted at all locations. Planning ahead? The TKTS website lists what was available at the booths in the previous week to give you an idea of what shows you'll find. Note: Ticket-booth hours may vary over holiday periods.

Best of Off Broadway (New York, NY. www.bestofoffbroadway.com.)

Playbill (New York, NY. www.playbill.com.)

SmartTix (www.smarttix.com.)

Telecharge (New York, NY. 212/239–6200; 800/447–7400 outside NYC. wwww.telecharge.com.)

TheaterMania (New York City, NY. www.theatermania.com.)

Ticket Central (416 W. 42nd St., between 9th and 10th Aves., Midtown West, New York, NY, 10036. 212/279–4200. www.ticketcentral.com. Daily noon–8. Subway: 1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R, S to Times Sq.–42nd St.; A, C, E to 42nd St.–Port Authority.)

Ticketmaster (866/448–7849 automated service; 800/745–3000. www.ticketmaster.com.)

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