How to Get $30 Tickets to a Sold-Out Show: The Lottery

Ticketing Tips and Tricks: Part Two

Show-Score | By Ryan McCarthy

Looking to see a show, but can’t afford the regular box office or resale prices? With a little patience and some luck, a ticket lottery could be your answer!

Lin-Manuel Miranda outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre with a crowd of lottery participants Lin-Manuel Miranda outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre with a crowd of lottery participants | By via

See all our tips and tricks on lottery, rush, and standing room tickets.


The Gist:

There are two types of lotteries, digital and in-person. The digital lotteries are run through Broadway Direct, the TodayTix app, or the show's own website. Some shows still offer in-person lotteries where you’ll need to show up at the theater before a designated time to enter the drawing. We list all the lottery information under ticket prices for each show, so you can always find the details of the lottery and how and when to enter here at Show-Score.

For a complete listing of all shows with Lotteries, click here.

Check out some of our member reviews of shows with lotteries here.

And, if you want to know all the ins and outs, read on!

What's a Lottery?

A lottery is a drawing that some shows offer for a limited number of highly discounted tickets. Shows which run a lottery typically offer a drawing for each public performance and winners can purchase up to 2 tickets for somewhere between $10 and $50 a piece, depending on the show. Unlike rush tickets (see our guide to rush tickets here) tickets aren’t distributed on a first come first serve basis, so there is no need to queue up with other hopefuls in the pre-dawn hours. As long as you submit before the deadline, you’ll be entered into the drawing.

Even more conveniently, a vast majority of shows have gone over to digital lotteries, allowing you to enter in minutes from the comfort of your own home. Of course, this increased convenience does have its downside: it means the drawings are a lot more competitive. It's estimated that an awe-inspiring 10,000 people enter the digital Hamilton lottery daily.

So, How Do I Do This, Exactly?

Check out the show's page on Show-Score and look under ticket prices to see if it offers a lottery and whether it's digital or in-person. (Or you can start by looking at our lists of all the digital or in-person lotteries currently running.)

That's where you can check out the lottery links on Show-Score!

To enter a digital lottery, go to the website as instructed, fill out your information and the number of tickets you want before the designated time (this depends on whether the show is a matinee or an evening performance). Then just sit back and wait: you'll be notified by email if you've won. It's as simple as that!

Just be sure to check your email and have your credit card ready, as there is a limited window to purchase the tickets before they'll be released to the next hopeful. Many lotteries can only be entered on the day of the show, though some allow a single entry to be entered into drawings for the whole week.

To enter an in-person lottery, you'll need to show up at the theater itself before the deadline the day of the show and fill out a slip. Make sure to check our listings to see if you need to bring cash, or if they accept credit cards, because if your name is drawn from the proverbial hat, you'll need to be ready to pay for your tickets then and there.

Hamilton's in-person drawing now only runs on Wednesday matinees, but it offers the added bonus of a free surprise performance while you wait! Check out the gender-swapped lip-sync battle below, to see what the #Ham4Ham hype is all about:

(And if you comment below that you've won the Hamilton lottery, I can't promise I won't explode in a fit of jealous rage, but I'll do my best.)

  • Click here to check out our guide on rush shows!
  • Have you ever won a show lottery? Tell us about it in the comments below!