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How to Buy Discount Theater Tickets in Washington D.C.

January 1, 2016 by Allie Linsey
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Looking for ways to save at the box office? (To be honest, that’s why we created TodayTix; because there are tons of different options and we wanted to put everything in one place. Too busy to read? Tap here to download TodayTix now.) Check out these tips and tricks for uncovering the best deals on theater tickets in and around Washington, D.C.

Check out these tips and tricks for uncovering the best deals on theater tickets in and around Washington, D.C.

Catch a Preview.

Similar to the invited dress, previews can be tweaked and altered before a show is fully set and “frozen” for the performance run. In most instances, this is the first interaction the cast and production teams have with a live audience. Theater Alliance has 50% off preview nights, Constellation Theatre‘s 2nd and 3rd public performances are considered previews with $15 tickets, and Synetic Theater‘s first public performance is a preview for $10.

Soak in free theater.

Many theatres in D.C. offer some free performances to increase access for everyone. Check out their websites to learn more. Theater companies like Shakespeare Theatre Company, the National Theatre, and The Kennedy Center all offer some performances for free so you can enjoy theater without having to break the bank.

Enjoy the perks of being a Millennial or student.

Image credit: Folger Theatre
Image credit: Folger Theatre

Many, but not all, theaters offer a student discount so search around the website or call the box office. Just remember: any time you go for the student discount, make sure you bring your student ID card.

Use a military discount.

…Only if you’ve served in the military, obviously. Most theaters offer a discount to active duty and veteran military personnel. Whether it’s $10 off your ticket at Theater Alliance, 20% off tickets for military personnel and their families at Studio Theatre,Woolly Mammoth, Signature Theatre and Arena Stage, 50% off at Ford’s Theatre and Folger Theatre, or 10% off at Mosaic Theater Company of DC, make sure to identify yourself to the box office to learn what discount is available to you.

Get on those mailing lists.

Theaters will often send out special discount codes to their mailing list. So don’t be afraid to signup for your favorite theaters.

Become a subscriber.

Committing to any one thing may be difficult in today’s world but when it comes to the theater subscriptions, commitment can be a great thing! Arena Stage offers a package that gives you up to 60% off in savings, Signature Theatre offers priority seating and fee-free exchanges, and a subscription to Round House Theatre saves you money and gives you free coffee all season long.

Rush a show.

Several theatres have rush policies where tickets are available day-of at a reduced price. Olney Theatre Center offers $15 rush tickets to students with a valid ID. Arena Stage has a limited number of 50% HOTTIX that are available 30 minutes before curtain. Shakespeare Theatre Company offers any unsold inventory for $25, starting 2-hours prior to curtain that night and Folger Theatre sells $30 tickets for all performances, starting 1-hr prior to curtain.

Celebrate neighborhood nights.

Image credit: Ecragg, Wikipedia.
Image credit: Ecragg, Wikipedia.

Do you live or work in a neighborhood with a theatre? For those in Southwest DC, Arena Stage has $35 and $25 tickets available for select performances; to those in Northeast or Southeast DC, Mosaic Theater Company offers $15 tickets to Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday performances; Studio Theatre offers $20 tickets – on select nights – to anyone living in the Studio District; and Ford’s Theatre gives a 20% discount to anyone residing in the Penn Quarter District.

Do your research.

Plenty of third-party websites offer discounts to a variety of shows around town. Do your research to make sure you’re getting the best deal (and watch out for hidden fees!)

Attend a Pay What You Can performance.

Most theatres offer at least one pay what you can (PWYC) performance per production. Check out their show calendar to learn what days are PWYC during the run, typically within the first week. Woolly Mammoth, Round House, Constellation Theatre and Rorschach Theatre all have PWYC nights. Arrive early as lines will queue up quickly and make sure you bring cash (yes, cash!) as credit and debit cards are not accepted.

Download the TodayTix app for last-minute tickets.

Guy Using App DC

TodayTix is a mobile app for last-minute theater tickets. It allows users to search available shows and buy tickets for performances occurring the same day or up to seven days in advance from their phones. It’s available for iOS and Android and some shows on TodayTix even have Lottery or Rush programs for extra special deals.

Use your credit card company.

If you’re getting tickets on a behemoth site like Ticketmaster, your Amex card may garner you special deals and discounts. Visa, Discover, and most other major credit card companies have perks and rewards programs that include entertainment options too.

Get a group together.

The hassle of wrangling 10 of your closest friends to all go do something together on one night may seem daunting, but, if you’re planning a group outing, make sure to inquire about group rates. Most theaters offer discounts for groups of 10 but sometimes this can be as high as 15 people.

Looking to buy theater tickets in other cities? Check out our guides to getting discount theater tickets in New YorkChicago, Boston, and Connecticut.