Rushing to the Theatre: A Guide to Student Rush, Lottery and Standing-Room-Only Tickets

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20 Jul 2013 offers a guide of tips and tricks to better your chances of buying student rush tickets or winning lottery tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.

"Money makes the world go round" both onstage and off. Seeing a Broadway show can seem like a lofty or even impossible goal to some, due to ticket prices, but the theatre community offers some great ways to snag affordable tickets to the hottest shows in town.

The tradition of rush tickets began in 1996 when Rent sold all seats of the first two rows of the Nederlander Theatre's orchestra section for $20 to whomever could be at the box office in time on the day of the performance. Now tickets cost a little more than $20, but there are still lots of affordable ways to get tickets and be able to buy dinner along with the show. 

For newcomers to the game, here are the differences between the types of tickets. Note that all three categories of tickets usually must be paid for using cash.

Student rush tickets are sold to patrons with a student ID the day of the performance. The location of the seat, and whether patrons can buy one or two tickets with an ID, varies.

Lottery entries are accepted at the box office, and the winners are drawn at random before the performance. Specific times may vary, but entries are usually taken between two and three hours before the curtain and the winner is drawn about 30 minutes after the names are taken.

Standing-room-only (SRO) tickets secure theatregoers a numbered space that is the width of a regular seat and are usually located in the back of the orchestra. SRO tickets are typically sold when the show is sold out. Unless otherwise specified, one SRO ticket is sold per person.

Playbill has published a summary of the rules and regulations of buying rush and standing-room-only (SRO) tickets to Broadway shows, so we talked to some theatre fans and experts about working the lottery and SRO lines and put together a guide of how to ensure theatregoers have a stress-free experience in line  — and perhaps better your chances of winning the tickets as well.


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