Sure, you can buy Broadway tickets online, but that can't compare to the theatrical experience of standing on line at TDF's Times Square TKTS Booth. For almost half a century, theatre lovers including many stage stars have flocked to TKTS to buy same-day discount tickets while bonding with their fellow fans. The post-holiday winter months are an ideal time to go. Typically, the lines are shorter and more shows are available. And if you want to hit the Booth multiple times within any seven-day period, just flash your previously purchased TKTS tickets at window No. 1 and you can skip the line completely.
Although you may not want to do that—the experience of standing on line is often as memorable as the show you end up seeing! Below are ten wonderful tales that will remind you why TKTS is worth the wait.
For real-time TKTS listings, hours and location, download this free app or visit TDF's website. In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, all Broadway productions require theatregoers ages 12 and up to show proof of full vaccination with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine. Children ages 5 to 11 must show proof of at least one dose of vaccine and be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult. Masks are mandatory for all.
5 minute walk from Times Square - 42 Street
Many, many years ago, my mother and I went to TKTS to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Broadway. I was in a chorus that had auditioned for the show but didn't get it. Still, we wanted to at least see the production. My mom got to talking with the ladies in line in front of us and told them the whole story. When we got to the front, we discovered that the Booth was cash only and my mom didn't have enough. She started to cry and those two women who didn't even know us gave my mom the cash. The kindness of strangers!—Michelle L.
My favorite TKTS experience was the time I met two lovely ladies from Canada who didn't know what to see. I told them that tickets to Victor / Victoria were about to go on the board because Julie Andrews was out that night, and that I had loved the show. Upon my advice, they got tickets to it and, as a thank you, they bought my ticket for me. So, we went to dinner together and then went to see the show. Strangers who became friends thanks to the TKTS Booth!—R.J. L.
My aunt and I were on line at TKTS deciding what play to see. I suggested Rock of Ages. She was like, "I do not know about that." The couple in front of us turned around and said the music was very loud. My aunt then replied, "Oh good! Then I will be able to hear it." We wound up seeing Rock of Ages and loved it.—Laurie R.
My favorite TKTS experience was letting someone jump ahead of me on line to get the last tickets to a show I was intending to purchase a ticket for, but had already seen. They overheard that they got the last tickets and offered to trade them with whatever I got so I could see it. I told them no thanks and that they would definitely not be disappointed because it was a great show.—Jacob R.
I'm a talker, so of course, I always talk to the people around me on the TKTS line. One time, I was waiting at the stage door of a show and the person next to me looked familiar. She agreed. We both realized that we had met each other years ago as teens on the TKTS line!—Aimee G.
My favorite memories are getting there early and having nice chats with the TKTS employees and talking to fellow theatre lovers who are there from other countries ("on holiday" in NYC)! I always love talking to the people standing around me because we have the same obsession... they just get me. I've actually gone to a few shows on recommendations from line neighbors and I always recommend my favorites as well. I like seeing the people I talked to in line in the streets of New York later or even sometimes in the theatre. It's always a fun time in the TKTS line!—Amanda K.
I have a wonderful memory that goes back over 40 years to the mid-'70s, when I went to the TKTS Booth on a very cold, wintry night. There was hardly anyone there, although there was a man handing out flyers protesting the one-man show about Paul Robeson, which starred James Earl Jones. I found myself defending the show to this man since I had seen it and was very happy that there was a play about the great Paul Robeson, a giant artistic figure not known as widely as he should have been. The man objected, from what I recall, to the portrayal of Robeson, saying that Mr. Jones couldn't sing anywhere near as strikingly and powerfully as Robeson. It turned out that the man with whom I was discussing all of this was Paul Robeson, Jr.! We must have talked for 30 to 45 minutes and I came away with a lovely memory, although I felt saddened that his son believed that an injustice was done to his father with the show.—Michael W.
Best memory: When our TKTS ticket agent told us to save our stubs so we could get on the VIP line the next day. I had been going to TKTS since the '80s and only found out about this in 2018!—C. S.
It was 1978. I was a freshman at La Salle Academy, a Catholic high school which had a cultural night out on the town. There were many events to choose from at TKTS. I chose to see A Chorus Line. I will never forget it. For the first time in my life, I took in a story, a musical, that had both an African-American man and a gay man. At 13, Black and gay, it changed my life. I knew I was not alone.—Tony G.
One summer, I met a nice Canadian guy in the TKTS line. We kept in touch and, that Christmas, he came back to NYC to visit. We kept talking for about a year, and then he came and stayed with me in the city for my birthday week. We saw shows, got amazing food and then, at the end of the visit, he proposed. He said it would be the perfect scenario because he could get a green card and I could get free health care. I nervously declined and, that night, he went home with another man from the gay bar after announcing to the whole bar that he was looking for a husband.—Brendan
These TKTS stories have been edited for length and clarity.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages, the online culture blog for TDF, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TKTS is one of many TDF programs that help make theatre accessible. Learn more about TDF at tdf.org.