Another London TKTS question!

Mar 26th, 2008, 04:58 AM
  #1  
BKP
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Another London TKTS question!

I know, not another one!

I did do a search here but I couldn't find the answer I need.

I am trying to go to a show in London, in June, with 4 people. I am perfectly content to go to almost any show (no jukebox musicals) so we will just go to the TKTS booth and see what is available. Although I will pretty much see anything I need good seats. How good are the best seats available at the TKTS booth? I'm sure it depends on which show so I'll add that the Sound of Music and Spamalot are on the top of our preferred list.

Thanks!
BKP is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 05:02 AM
  #2  
 
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The TCKTS booth sells the seats in order of expense - ie the best ones first. So in fact it can cost more than going straight to the theatre - although yopu will have a better seat.

They also sell full price or only slightly discounted seats for other more popular shows.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 05:18 AM
  #3  
BKP
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Thanks for the quick answer CW. Follow up question -- why would the booth cost more than going to the theatre? Even if I were to buy full price tickets at the booth surely that would be the same price as at the theatre itself? Are you saying that at the booth I would have to buy the best tickets but that at the theatre I could choose to buy cheaper/inferior seats?
BKP is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 05:22 AM
  #4  
 
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Yes. Yopu copuld end up paying £35 for a half price £70 ticket when there are £25 tickets also available.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 05:23 AM
  #5  
 
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TKTS charges a service fee for all shows, including full price ones. The theatre does not.

The TKTS board will usually tell you if the discount is less than the usual 50%.
nibblette is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 05:27 AM
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TKTS' service fee is £2.50 per ticket, whether it is disocunted or not.

So a full price ticket, e.g. Billy Elliott, would be £62.50 at TKTS and £60 at the theatre for the best seats.
nibblette is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 05:29 AM
  #7  
 
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TKTS sells seats from the front of the house to the back in order to fill the empties so the actors see more faces.

Prices are usually half the face value plus a fee. If you go early in the day, you can find out how many tickets are available and where they are and then make a decision to buy now or return later in the day.
EightTenPM is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 05:39 AM
  #8  
BKP
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Wonderful. Those responses completely answer my questions. Thank you.

By the way -- that is interesting about the actors wanting to see faces. That never occurred to me!
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Mar 26th, 2008, 10:49 PM
  #9  
 
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8-10-PM is is having fun. Has little to do w/ wanting to see faces (interesting first ever post BTW). TKTS sells the best available seats - period. The main reason is to speed up the queue. They will not "run the house" as other ticket sellers do. In other words - best available seat, take it or leave it. They will not run through the computer looking for other seats you might prefer.

If you don't like the seats offered, then you need to request a different show - they will look up a completely new request but will not "run the house" for you.

Also - if you want great seats and don't mind if you all sit together, it is better to ask for 2 seats and then 2 more seats -- since 4 together will usually be in a worse location.

Also - they do not always know how many seats are on offer at opening times - new tix are released throughout the day.
janisj is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 11:26 PM
  #10  
mjs
 
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I must say that that I find this concept of wanting to see almost any theatre for a good price quite interesting. If you do not get to London very often would you not rather see the show you really want to see? Spamalot tickets in January were available for 25% off so I suspect you might be able to get tickets in June at TKTS. I seem to always get better seats when booking directly with the theatre.
mjs is offline  
Mar 27th, 2008, 01:06 AM
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Don't know how old you are but on the day of performance, you can get concession tickets for about half price at the theatre and pick your seats.
avalon is offline  
Mar 27th, 2008, 01:48 AM
  #12  
BKP
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janis -- thanks for the idea of splitting up. I never talk during a show so it doesn't really matter if I sit with my family. If new tix are released throughout the day is there a better time of day to go to the booth? I assumed we would go first thing so we could plan the rest of the day.

mjs I live 30 miles outside of London. I've already seen many of the "big" shows like Wicked, Lion King etc. I enjoy theatre at almost any level -- from West End and Broadway down to middle school! I can't sing or act (at all) so I just enjoy being around people who can do it better than me!
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Mar 27th, 2008, 02:11 AM
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Several things you should be aware of about TKTS..

First its location..many get off the tube at Leicester Square station and upon emerging from the exit marked Leicester Square they see several store fronts with small queue with notations such as Official Half Price theatre tickets...these are not TKTS...they are rip off joints...they will advertise they have seats for Billy Elliot (which TKTS does not) and sell you a £15 balcony (called upper circle in London) ticket for £30.....

To get to TKTS you have to continue walking down this pedestrian only street to Burger King..you will then see a little park which is actually Leicester Square with a statue (I think it's Shakespeare..I've been there so many times I never look at it) in the middle...at the back of this little park is a free standing building with the letters TKTS on it...as you approach the building on a Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday, you will see 2 queues...one of your right facing it is for evening performances (or all performances on another day), the one on the left (as long as it is before 1400 or thereabouts) is for matinee performances...there will be boards showing the shows available as well as an electronic price board listing the shows by category and the price (including the £2.50 service fee).

2. Those of you familiar with a similar (but as I understand it unrelated) operation on Broadway in New York will be pleasantly surprised that the queue is rarely longer than 10 minutes...as a matter of fact the longest queues are those at 1000 when it opens...and you don't necessarily get the best selection of shows...contary to popular opinion as the day goes on, some shows release more and more seats and shows are added to the board (although some shows' allocated seats do sell out and these shows are removed from the board)..it can go either way.

3. As noted, they usually sell the top price seats but sometimes if a theatre has allocated a few more seats in the second level of pricing if they've gone through their entire allocation of top price seats but you don't get the choice...you get what is available from front to back as noted.

4. Is it the cheapest way to go..no as noted sometimes you can walk over to the theatre (and many are walkable) and go the booking office and get a cheaper ticket..although of course not as good....say the top price of a show available at TKTS is £55...TKTS will sell that seat for £30...(£27.50 being 1/2 of £55 plus £2.50...but at the theatre itself there might be plenty of seats available for less than £27.50 just not in as good a location.

5. Many theatres have day tickets with "concessions" for pensioners defined as somebody over 60....they rarely check if you look the part so to speak or student's tickets, they rarely check that either. It doesn't hurt to ask at the theatre if they have such tickets.

6. Many shows, even though they are not automatic sell outs anymore are never available at TKTS..example is Mamma Mia..I've never seen it available at TKTS (maybe because I'm usually in London during prime times so to speak..maybe they are available at off peak times)..some shows such as Billy Elliot allow TKTS to see seats at full price...but why anybody would do so is beyind me as they tack on the £2.50 service charge...other shows are always available there such as Blood Brothers (a good typical British show as opposed to the mega musical many of which are revivals)..some shows are only available there on weekdays (We Will Rock You is almost always available there on weekdays but never on weekends)..some long running shows will be there with only a 25% discount (clearly marked on the card and the electronic board) such as Phantom of the Opera..some shows are there at 50% sometimes and 25% at others (Les Miserables is an example).

7. Finally for the shows you really want to see that are iffy there or might never be available there (Lion King, Billy Elliot, Wicked) you might wish to book in advance...easy...just go to any London Theatre Guide, get the phone number of the theatre, ring them up, the clerk will work with you as to what's available, give them your credit card number and you can pick up the tickets the evening (or afternoon) of the performance..they will insist on seeing the credit card you used to make the booking.

Or if you're in London, you can call the theatre directly and ask what's available and either come down or make the booking on the phone...with a mobile phone, I often go to TKTS, see what's available and call the theatre directly to see if I can get a better deal.

8. Finally, may I suggest the following web site, www.broadwaybox.com They have a button for London in the upper part of the screen on the right side (Las Vegas too)...they will list the shows that give discounts on the internet (some include dinner but I don't think they are particularly good buys but to each his or her own) and you can make a booking directly through the web site.

Once again, free and valuable but correct information from the great xyz123 (although a bit wordy)...at least you're not paying for wrong information given out by many guide books.
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Mar 27th, 2008, 02:19 AM
  #14  
BKP
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Thank you xyz123 -- if this wasn't my own thread I would bookmark it -- to have all of the tkts info in one spot is wonderful. Thanks!
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Mar 27th, 2008, 09:04 AM
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Brilliant posting xyz123.

I would add one other little tip related to theatre on the cheap, however. If you're interested in shows at the National Theatre (which are usually pretty good), or at any of a number of other sell-out venues, you can frequently queue in the morning for seats for a song. Most places do not advertise this as such, so you may need to inquire at theatre box offices about their procedures.

On several occasions, I've queued in the morning at the box office at the National Theatre, and received two front-row tickets at ten pounds each for my trouble (the NT reserves front/back row seats for people willing to brave the elements). Its not always the way you might choose to spend your early morning hours on vacation, but if you want to see the show enough, I'd recommend it. Last week, I saw the sold-out run of Much Ado About Nothing care of the morning line-up and it was definitely worth it.

Other shows, like The Lion King, only sell standing room on the morning of, but at 5 pounds, it can still be a deal, especially since the show isn't always sold out, and usually the ushers won't stop you from moving into a vacant seat.
ruinmysleep is offline  
Mar 27th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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We went to London for a weekend at the end of January and got tickets for Spamalot and Chicago at the half price ticket booth in Leicester Square.
The tickets were exactly half price with a 2.50 pound service charge.
The office takes VISA and Mastercard, but not AMEX.
On Friday there is a 17:00 showing of Spamalot.
The Matinees on Saturday had tickets for more shows than the evening performances.
The recommended site for online ticket purchases, according to our theater brochures was www.see.com
awong is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 11:52 AM
  #17  
 
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bkm
samsmom1127 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2008, 09:40 AM
  #18  
 
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Thanks for the info!
Ronda is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 01:36 PM
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Well, awong's see website is not for theatre tickets unless you are going to outer space!

I would like to see les mis in June. Should I buy tickets now or wait until I get there? Any idea if this show is usually sold out?
Ronda is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 02:50 PM
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Les miz for most performances is available at TKTS, especially during mid week..sometimes it's at a 25% discount but most of the time when available will be at the 50% discount...some weekends, especially say Saturday evenings, are not on TKTS....

I wouldn't necessarily book this one in advance...you can also look for current special at www.broadwaybox.com click the button for London.
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