After nearly 18 months, Broadway is back and so is theater fans' favorite way to get discount tickets.
The iconic TKTS booth below the red steps at Duffy Squares will reopen Tuesday and begin selling same-day and next-day tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway productions. It's the first time the discount ticket booth will open since it shut down in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
While the city's COVID-19 safety protocols require audience members to show proof of being fully vaccinated at all indoor shows, those looking to score up to 50% off tickets will only need to socially distance as they wait in line.
"The old days of four or five people in a line right up against the windows, those are over. You'll see more social distancing," Executive Director of the Theater Development Fund Victoria Bailey told 1010 WINS in an interview. "There will be a variety of ticket protocols. Some systems are going to be doing virtual ticketing. Some will be doing hard tickets."
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the discount ticket booth will be opened from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the hours are from noon to 8 p.m. On Sundays, fans can get tickets from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The booth is closed on Mondays until October, according to TDF.
Before heading to Times Square, you can check out real-time listings on the TKTS app or on its website.
Some of the shows that could have tickets available Tuesday include "The Lion King," "Wicked," "Chicago" and "Hamilton." They'll be followed later in the month by "Come From Away," "Six," "Moulin Rouge!," "Aladdin" and a handful of other productions.
A handful of other productions have already welcomed back masked and fully vaccinated audiences, including "Waitress," "Hadestown," "Pass Over," and "Springsteen on Broadway." Also opening on Tuesday are previews of "Lackawanna Blues."
Broadway finally got the green light in May when former Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced productions could resume at full capacity after Labor Day. Quickly, producers and artists got to work preparing for a grand return in the fall.
"A lot of new protocols have been established, beginning with being required to have vaccinations and wear masks during the performance, or for children under 12: a test 6 hours before or a negative PCR test 72 hours before," president of the Broadway League, Charlotte St. Martin, said.
"Then obviously the disinfecting of surfaces and all of the things that go along with contact tracing are added as well. We’re doing everything that our infectious disease specialist and scientist have told us to do because once we open we want to stay open and keep everyone safe," St. Martin added.
The return of Broadway's biggest musicals will surely mark another substantial chapter in the city's recovery from a devastating pandemic. Ordinally, the theater industry brings in nearly $15 billion annually, according to CNBC.
Broadway World says ticket sales from the plays and musical in production the week before the March 2020 lockdown totaled $26.7 million. “Hamilton” brought in $2.69 million, the most of any show at the time, and "The Lion King" and "Wicked" were averaging close to $1.5 million per week in the weeks before, CNBC said.
"Jagged Little Pill," "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Ain't Too Proud" have opening dates set in October. The new "Diana" musical and the Michael Jackson musical, "MJ," are slated for December.
The Broadway League says 15 shows in total will open in September, with 35 back on stage by the end of the year.