Broadway Features and Reviews
A Wicked Tickets Lottery Adventure
A College Student plays the Wicked Broadway Lottery. Will she win?
By Leora Kanner, Broadway Magazine
As a first-year student attending Barnard College, I want to make full use of the cultural opportunities available to me. With that being said, I also don't want to spend too much money doing so. I've been a Broadway theatre lover my whole life, but paying hundreds of dollars on tickets is just not in my budget. Therefore, I was excited to learn about the lottery opportunity that some Broadway shows offer as a means to see popular productions, without shelling out enormous amounts of cash.
Through a friend, I discovered that some shows offer a certain number of tickets for each performance through a lottery system. The interested ticket buyer just needs to show up at the box office a specific number of hours before the performance, write down his or her name and how many tickets they want to buy (either 1 or 2), and wait for the "lottery drawing." If his or her name is called, this lucky person gets low-priced tickets to that day's performance, usually for seats in one of the first two rows.
I decided to test out this process with one of the most popular shows on Broadway, Wicked. Tickets for the hit Broadway musical Wicked are almost unattainable at the last minute, and the performance that I went to go get tickets for was sold out. However, the theatre was offering (as they do for every performance), a small number of $25 tickets for first row seats through the lottery system.
I showed up, very excited, at the Wicked box office three hours before curtain time (at five o clock,) and was told that the lottery didn't begin until 5:30. At around 5:15 other hopeful's began to show up, and a line began to form. Between 5:15 and 5:30 the line grew in front of the box office to about 70 people. As each new person entered the line, the people around me nervously chatted about their odds of winning the lottery.
The crowd was mostly in their late 20s or early 30s, with some elderly people and some kids with their parents. There were only a few college students, which surprised me. Then again, it was Thursday night. One man on line said it was his second time attempting to win the lottery, having lost the first time he tried. He told me that the time before he had been up against around 150 people, and that he hoped the odds of winning would be better this time around. Another girl, a Brooklyn resident, had attempted to win the lottery 8 or 9 times and had so far been unsuccessful. However, she was dying to see the show and would wait online as many times as it took.
The line consisted mostly of tourists, people who had been told by their friends or relatives about the show and wanted to see it for themselves without paying full price. They were in New York for a limited amount of time, and couldn't think of a better way to experience the city then seeing Wicked on Broadway. Most of the people were first timers to the lottery process like me, some having found out about it at the box office that day when they came to purchase tickets. As one man put it, it is worth wasting half an hour of time for the possibility of a great deal.
At exactly 5:30 two men came outside and began asking people to submit their names to the lottery. You were only allowed to submit once, and you needed cash and photo ID in case you won. The line was very efficient and moved quickly; I realized that you didn't really need to wait at all. If you were smart, you would just show up at any time between 5:30 and 6:00, because place in line doesn't increase one's chances at all. The line itself died down around 5:40, with
people trickling in until right before six o clock.
At precisely six o clock the two men called out that it was the last chance to submit names, and then they made all of us hopefuls wait behind a yellow line in front of the theatre. They instructed us that if our name was called, we must make noise and act excited, and then come stand in a line in front. After ten minutes it was over, and the 25 Wicked ticket winners were standing in a line. I was not among them.
Walking away, I surprised at how upset I was at having not won. Still, it was worth standing in line and trying anyway. I figured I would try again next time I was in midtown, around the right time, because who doesn't want to win cheap tickets to a Broadway show? Next time, I might win. Hey, you never know.
“Lottery Leora” Kanner is an undergraduate student at Barnard College.