Buying tickets to a Broadway musical, idiotproof edition
May 24, 2016 11:51 AM   Subscribe

How do I buy "good seats" for a long-running NYC Broadway show for the minimum amount over face value? Assume that my knowledge of musical-ticket-buying only goes so far as a Google search.

I want to buy tickets for a specific upcoming date and time to see Wicked on Broadway in NYC. I would like guaranteed good seats (not a day-of purchase) and am willing to pay for the privilege.

1) What's the best way of getting tickets at actual face value, vs. face value + surprisingly high fees? Can I just call the box office (I'm currently located on the other side of the country)?

2) Which seats/section do I actually want to buy, for "good" seats? I've never bought show tickets before where I actually cared about seating more than price, but this is a special family splurge and I've been directed to pick good seats.

Right now I see "Very Best Seats" listed at $222 face value, with the next level down being $119-$149 for both Orchestra/Front Mezzanine and Orchestra Stadium. Is any $149 seat going to provide a good view? How do I pick between the two sections? Or should I really go for the "best" seats?
posted by serelliya to Shopping (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
1) What's the best way of getting tickets at actual face value, vs. face value + surprisingly high fees? Can I just call the box office (I'm currently located on the other side of the country)?

No. You can call Ticketmaster or Telecharge, depending on the show. Wicked is Ticketmaster, I think. You are better off using the website.

2) Which seats/section do I actually want to buy, for "good" seats? I've never bought show tickets before where I actually cared about seating more than price, but this is a special family splurge and I've been directed to pick good seats.

The $149 seats should be fine. Some things to note: don't get the very extreme sides. The front mezzanine center will be much better than the back of the orchestra.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:56 AM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Actually, my mother recently bought very good tickets to see a show by calling the box office and buying her tickets over the phone, so it may depend on the theater?

If you're in NYC, or have a NYC friend who can help you, the best things is to go to the box office in person -- tell them what date you want to see the show and how much you're willing to spend, and they'll hook you up. This gets you great seats AND helps you dodge the horrible Ticketmaster markup.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:49 PM on May 24, 2016


Actually, my mother recently bought very good tickets to see a show by calling the box office and buying her tickets over the phone, so it may depend on the theater?

No, the box office does not have a phone at any theatre. You are always calling Ticketmaster, even when you get a box office number.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:53 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I bought front mezzanine tickets over 3.5 years ago and I thought the seats were pretty good, but my eyesight is good and we had front row mezz. (after fees the tickets were about $190)
posted by sandmanwv at 12:58 PM on May 24, 2016


Wicked is sold by Ticketmaster, the fee is like $11 per ticket, free delivery by mail, which all things considered isn't completely usurious. You want to use the seat map to pick your seats, rather than calling or letting them choose. Sometimes you can get seats just across the aisle for less than the premium seats, and you can also decide how much you value sitting to the side versus center but further away.

The advent of "premium" seats has really cut down on the resale market, as the theater is capturing more of the market for the best seats, instead of selling all the orchestra seats at the same price. Especially with a show that's been open since 2003, there's not much reason to get tickets on the secondary market. You can try, I'm sure there are brokers and Craigslist, but especially for a family affair I wouldn't risk it.
posted by wnissen at 1:19 PM on May 24, 2016


OK, I must have been looking at a third-party site or something, because I was seeing $60+ fees per ticket. Will take another look for sure!
posted by serelliya at 1:27 PM on May 24, 2016


Call the concierge at the hotel you'll be staying at, see what they can do. They often have an inside scoop on what's available and how to get it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:30 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


There must be some Broadway blog/discussion board that reviews the theaters themselves, no? I know I will never again in my life choose to sit at the balcony level of the St. James Theater, it was nightmarishly high.

Generally, front mezzanine is a safer bet than orchestra level, since the seating is more raked at the mezzanine. Orchestra can be great, but I'm 5'3"-ish, so it's gambling on the hope that the people in front of me will not be tall/big-headed/fidgety.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:37 PM on May 24, 2016


I got Broadway tickets on eBay recently. There are websites that let you plug in the seat/row and will show you exactly what the view is from there. Look for an eBay seller that has sold tickets before and has lots of positive feedback from it. There will be no additional fees or anything.
posted by Slinga at 1:54 PM on May 24, 2016


Thanks all for the info and helpful tips! I just bought center tickets in orchestra row L, which were one row behind premium-priced seats. Center front mezzanine was all gone (and front row mezzanine was premium-priced), so even though all attendees are petite, I figured it'd be better than 6 rows back and off-center in the mezzanine.
posted by serelliya at 1:58 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


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