The Day We Won the Lottery

Daniel and I had both just had a long week ... it was finally Saturday - the first warm, sunny Saturday of the year - and we weren't sure what to spend our day doing. Eventually we decided - to heck with it - we should spend our afternoon entering the lottery. The Broadway lottery. We have always wanted to see The Book of Mormon. We'd both listened to a song or two and it sounded like something that was right up our alley; so on a Saturday when we had no other plans, we decided to spend our afternoon on a gamble.

When we first arrived at the box office, there were only about 30 other people. We arrived 15 minutes before the lottery began, so we were feeling pretty good about our odds. At exactly 5:30pm, however, the crowd doubled. And throughout the thirty minutes that the raffle was open, throngs of people seemed to appear out of nowhere to enter their name into the pool. Daniel and I were sitting quietly, a few feet clear of the crowd, laughing about how we'd be going home empty handed in just a few minutes. For half an hour, people came to fill out the informational card and enter it. There were only 22 seats that were going to be raffled off - which meant that there were only 11 names that were going to be drawn, because each person that won could purchase two tickets. At 6pm exactly, the pool was closed and the drawing of the names began. (Hunger Games, much?)

I didn't realize how emotional a Broadway raffle was going to be - but each time a name was called that wasn't mine, my stomach would drop a little bit. I tried to make a few jokes - mostly to convince myself that I wouldn't be upset about wasting an evening if we weren't called. I looked around at the crowd - well over 150 people, probably closer to 200, had showed up. And everyone wanted a ticket.

Nine names had been called. Our announcer drew a tenth. There was a beat. Then he said my name! It was (sort of embarrassingly) one of the most exciting moments, ever. Out of 200 people, my name had been called and I was allowed to go into the Box Office to purchase my ticket to see The Book of Mormon for only $35!

For the next two hours, Daniel and I sat in Starbucks and talked about how exciting that moment had been - 190 people had gone home disappointed, but not us!

And what a show it was. Definitely not for the faint of heart or the ultra-conservative, but boy did we love it. Tears were streaming down my face, I was laughing so hard. It was hysterical, controversial, and brilliantly satirical. I definitely recommend it; but be prepared not to take yourself - or any worldview you may have - too seriously.

Get a little taste of it by watching a performance of "Hello," the opening number of the play, done at the Tony's!  (Though, no, the cameo from Neil Patrick Harris does not actually happen on Broadway.)

There are a few ways to get cheap Broadway tickets:

  • Rush Tickets: wake up early and be the first in line when the Box Office opens at 10:30am. Not all shows sell Rush tickets, but the shows that do will offer (slightly obstructed view) tickets for $25 - $30.
  • The Lottery: for the shows with the highest demand, they will raffle off the same seats that other shows sell as Rush tickets. They do this because shows like Chicago will have maybe 20-30 people (on a good day) who stand in line at the Box Office in the morning, but shows like Lion King, Wicked and The Book of Mormon can have up to 200 people entering their lotteries.
  • Standing Room Only: Wait in line until the show starts and they'll let in as many people as fire code allows. These tickets can cost $30-$40 and not all shows have them.
  • Broadway Roulette: This is brand new; you can pick the day and time that you'd like to see a show, then they will seat you in a show that didn't sell out that night. Only $45.

I can't really link you to a site that covers all of this information because the availability of all of these tickets depend upon which show you are going to see. You might have to do some digging to get these cheap tickets; but that's why they're cheap! Good luck.