To say I love musicals is a gross understatement. There’s something about the cheesy dance routines, sequins and feathers that makes me want to break into song (I won’t).
But this passion of mine can get very expensive, very quickly, considering some musicals charge £60+ for good seats. So I’ve learned to never pay full price for a show if I can help it.
Here are a few things I do to grab bargain tickets. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting the absolute cheapest seats every time, but rather getting the best seats for the least amount possible.
Choosing the right seats/performance
There’s always one thing I check before buying tickets, and that’s where I’ll be sitting on Theatremonkey.com. It’s a nifty site that tells you how good the visibility is from your seat.
Sometimes getting the cheapest ticket isn’t worth it if you’re not going to enjoy the show. After all, I don’t want to be placed behind a pillar and miss the Mamma Mia grand finale.
Another handy piece of advice: be flexible. Going to a matinee (afternoon) performance during the week will be cheaper than going on a Friday or Saturday evening.
Buying in advance tips
If I’m booking far enough in advance, there are some good deals possible online. Sites such as Lastminute.com often have theatre sales with discounts of 50% off, sometimes more.
However, I always do a quick comparison on Compare Theatre Tickets first to make sure I’m getting the best deal.
Bear in mind there may be booking and transaction fees, so most of the time it’s cheaper to buy all tickets in one transaction to keep the fees at a minimum.
I also find picking the tickets up at the box office on the day is the best option. It’s free, plus they won’t get lost in the post.
What about buying last minute?
Theatres tend to sell tickets at a fraction of the price on the day of the performance. I went to see Legally Blonde in January and got top price tickets for a Saturday evening for £25 (usually £66.50).
Had I got up earlier and gone first thing (not likely on a weekend), I would’ve been able to snap some up for a tenner.
I don’t have much experience with ticket booths, though the concept is pretty similar. They phone the theatre on your behalf and ask what they can offer, but I find it easier to cut the middle man and go to the theatre directly.
Again, be flexible. Choose a few shows you want to see, in case your first choice is sold out. I live in London, so that’s easy for me, but if you need to plan your trip in advance, this might not be the best option.
Upgrading during the interval
Now this is a bit of a gamble, but I’ve had a 100% success rate. If a show has been running a few months, then chances of it selling out diminish, meaning there will be a few empty seats during a performance, especially midweek.
If I haven’t managed to (shock horror!) find a bargain on a good seat, I just get a bottom price one. Once the show starts, I have a look around to see if there are any better seats available.
It’s better to wait until the interval to try for an upgrade in case people are late and the seats aren’t actually free.
Plus there’s no point missing any of the good songs. During the break, I simply go up to one of the ushers and politely ask if I can grab a better, unoccupied seat.
A smile goes a long way as well. Because they won’t be selling any more tickets for that show, they usually agree.
If you’ve got any more tips, feel free to share them in the MSE forum.