Broadway FAQs: Answers to All Your Broadway Questions

Seeing a show shouldn’t be confusing, simply delightful. We answer your most pressing questions about seeing a theater performance in New York.

How do I buy tickets to a Broadway show?

In advance of your trip, the standard option for buying tickets is through the show’s website or an online ticket retail site, such as Ticketmaster or Telecharge.

Once in New York City, theatergoers can purchase tickets directly at the box office. Theater box offices are generally open Monday-Saturday 10 am-8 pm and Sunday noon-6 pm. Check the specific show’s website to confirm box office hours. 

Can I get last-minute tickets to Broadway shows?

Many hotels have a concierge on staff or a Broadway ticket desk that can help with last- minute requests for premium seats to buzz-worthy shows. In addition, last-minute cancellations often become available for purchase at the box office in the hours before curtain and at standard pricing.

Are discount tickets ever available?

Many shows sell rush, lottery and standing-room-only (SRO) tickets at the box office on the day of the performance. Unless otherwise specified, these heavily discounted tickets are sold beginning when the box office opens; it’s safe to assume that other people know about this deal, so be sure to show up early and be prepared to wait in line.

A limited number of lottery tickets at a discounted price are often available either digitally or in the hours before curtain. Check the individual show’s website to confirm whether this is an option along with specific theater policies. 

The Theatre Development Fund has four TKTS booths throughout the New York City area—in Times Square, Downtown Brooklyn, the Lincoln Center and the South Street Seaport—that offer a wide range of day-of tickets at 25 to 50 percent off. Before going to a booth, theatergoers can see a live feed of discounted tickets being sold at the different locations by checking online.

The TKTS booths are located in Times Square (Father Duffy Square, Broadway and W. 47th St.), South Street Seaport (at the corner of Front and John Sts.) and Downtown Brooklyn (Jay St. and Myrtle Avenue Promenade). Hours vary for each booth, check the website for specific hours.

Do I have to dress up to see a show?

There are no dress requirements for attending a Broadway show. Keep in mind that in the summer theaters run air-conditioning, so a sweater and closed-toed-shoes will serve you well.

How early should I get to the theater?

Doors open 30 minutes before a show starts. If you need to pick up tickets at the will-call window, show up at least 30 minutes before curtain to avoid long lines and delays.

Other key tips: Theater ushers can tell you the show’s running time and where restrooms are located, so you can plan your bathroom trip accordingly. In the case of shows with no intermission, it is advisable to go to the restroom before the performance starts. Also, bear in mind that those stroom lines can be long during intermissions.

Is photography permitted in theaters?

All Broadway theaters strictly ban photography in the theater before, during and after performances. In addition, all cellphones must be turned off before the curtain goes up; texting is a major no-no.

Can I eat and drink in the theater?

While outside food is strictly prohibited, all theaters operate concession stands before the show and during intermission. As a courtesy to other patrons, the opening of candy wrappers during the show is frowned upon.

Are hearing devices available?

Hearing devices are available in all Broadway theaters upon arrival. The devices are included in the price of your ticket.

In addition, a handful of shows offer performances interpreted in American Sign Language or with a handheld i-caption device that can be used in any seat in the theater. Call the Theatre Development Fund’s Accessibility Programs office to scope out the full offering of client services offered at Broadway theaters: 212.912.9770 ext. 382.

Can I check my bag and coat?

Most theaters provide coat check, though most patrons prefer to keep their coats with them during the show.

I’m traveling with young kids. Are some shows more suitable for families than others?

Aladdin, The Lion King and Wicked are just a handful of long-running shows that cater to kids and adults of all ages. While some theaters encourage parental discretion when it comes to bringing children below the age of 6, others, like Wicked’s Gershwin Theater, have a firm policy barring children under the age of 5.

Before purchasing tickets, confirm that the entire brood is welcome to enjoy the show. In addition, there are no children’s prices on Broadway. A lad of 5 sits in the same priced seat as an adult of 65. Booster seats are available from ushers on a first-come, first-served basis at venues hosting family-friendly shows.

The annual "Kids’ Night on Broadway" is an event that young theater enthusiasts do not want to miss. Participating shows are free to young people ages 6-18 when accompanied by an adult with a full-price ticket. Tickets go on sale via The Broadway League each October for the annual winter event.

Can I meet and greet the actors after the performance?

Seeing a favorite actor or actress as he or she exits the stage door is a Broadway tradition. Actors also often step out of the stage door in between afternoon and evening performances on matinee days. This is your chance to thank them for their performance, perhaps get your Playbill signed and snap a picture. There is an etiquette to seizing this moment: Act polite and courteous to the star, the stage manger and fellow fans and have your camera, a felt-tip pen and your Playbill at the ready.  

Lorraine Rubio
About the author

Lorraine Rubio serves as the New York assist...