Broadway Rush Policies

by Chip Marsden

If you're planning a trip to New York City and want to see a Broadway show, you might want to check out the rush ticket policy of the theater where you're going. Rush tickets are tickets sold for that day's performance directly from the theater's box office. Rush tickets have steep discounts and often are for premium seats in the first and second rows of orchestra seating. Rush tickets are not available for every show, and how to get them when they are varies from one show to the next.

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Student Rush

Offerings of student rush tickets began as a way to both reward loyal young fans willing to stand in line at the box office, and to make world-class Broadway theater accessible to a group with limited incomes. Student rush tickets are usually for same-day performances on a first-come, first-served basis when the box office opens. For popular shows offering student rush tickets, it's common to see students camping for a good spot in line. These tickets are usually under $30, require a valid student ID to purchase, and most transactions are cash only.

Anyone Rush

"Anyone rush" tickets are identical in spirit to the student version. They sell only on the day of performance on a first come, first-served basis at a deep discount, and are often for premium orchestra seating. However, as the name suggests, they are available to anyone, not just students with a valid ID. If you wish to buy rush tickets, though, take a photo ID with you. There is a per-person rush ticket limit and checking photo IDs is how theaters enforce it. Lastly, be prepared to line up at the theater well before the box office opening if you try to get rush tickets to a very popular show, and remember to bring cash.

Rush Lottery

The rush ticket lottery system began to eliminate the incentive for campers on public sidewalks and city streets. Instead of selling a finite number of discounted rush tickets first-come, first-served, theaters award them by a random lottery draw. To enter the drawing, arrive at the theater about 30 minutes before the designated drawing time and print your name and the number of tickets you wish to purchase. If you're one of the lottery's lucky winners, you can proceed to the box office with your photo ID and cash to buy the number of tickets you requested.

Research The Details

It is important to check the rush ticket policies, if they exist, for specific shows you want to see. Different theaters award their rush tickets in different ways. Box office openings and drawing times vary. Playbill diligently maintains a definitive online listing of rush ticket policies for every current Broadway show (see Resources).

About the Author

Based in Virginia, Chip Marsden has been a writer for more than eight years. He has covered film, politics and culture for regional newspapers and online publications. Marsden holds a B.A. in theater arts with a concentration in performance.

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