The cheapest tickets on Broadway start at maybe $40…and that’s only if you want to spend a minimum of two hours on the bus to New York…and then wait in line for at least an hour for day-of rush tickets…and end up sitting in the back row of the balcony (or, god forbid, standing in the back).
Why spend all that time, money, and effort when you can just walk, bus, Uber, or take the subway into Center City and see quality performances and productions for $20 or less? Philadelphia is full of amazing regional non-profit theaters. They may not be Broadway, but they give students the opportunity to see shows for $0-$20!
I don’t want to play favorites, but if I had to choose a favorite theater company in Philadelphia, it would be Lantern. LTC’s seasons consist of a mixture of old and contemporary plays that are skillfully produced in interesting and unique ways. Their upcoming production of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus” begins previews on March 9.
While I have only seen LTC shows for free as an usher, the company has a great student deal. 10 minutes before show-time, present your student ID at the Box Office and get any available ticket for just $10. There are some restrictions: Only one ticket per student ID, it is cash only, and tickets are not guaranteed for sold out performances. If you don’t want to run the risk of not getting a ticket, student advance tickets are available for $15!
Location: St. Stephen’s Theatre at 10th & Ludlow Streets
Student Tickets: $10 day of/$15 in advance
Walnut Street is the oldest theatre in the United States and consistently produces quality productions of classic plays and musicals on its main stage. Upstairs, Walnut’s “Independent Studio on 3” presents a series of shows that are a bit out of the mainstream in addition to solo shows, musical revues, and new plays.
“Laughter On the 23rd Floor” is playing on the mainstage through March 5 and “The Gift” opens in the Independent Studio on February 21. Main stage youth tickets for theatregoers 24-years-old and under are available for $20 day of in person at box office, one ticket per valid ID. $20 day of tickets for the Independent Studio are also available online using the code “DAYSTU”
Location: Walnut Street Theatre at the corner of 9th & Walnut Streets
Tickets: $20 day of
Where Walnut Street Theatre tends towards older shows like “Harvey” and “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to The Forum”, Philadelphia Theatre Company presents a variety of newer, sometimes more experimental shows that include many Philadelphia, East Coast, and World Premiers. “Having Our Say” closes on February 19, so head down now!
Students are able to purchase $25 tickets to shows online in advance. PTC also offers a rush ticket policy. Starting 3 hours before the show, students can purchase $10 tickets in person from the box office. On Fridays, rush tickets are available all day. There is a 2 ticket maximum for every valid student ID.
Location: Suzanne Roberts Theatre at Broad & Lombard Streets
Tickets: $10 day of
According to The Wilma Theater’s mission statement, the Wilma is dedicated to creating “living, adventurous art”. That’s an accurate description! The Wilma has perhaps the most diverse and out-there shows. Adapt! a world premier production opens on March 22nd.. A warning: some shows are more artistic than entertaining…
The Wilma offers $10 tickets for students with a valid ID through its Wilma WynTix ticket subsidy program supported by the Wyncote Foundation. Proof of identification should be presented in person at the box office or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: The Wilma Theater at Broad & Spruce Streets.
Tickets: $10 online or at the box office
Azuka is by far the smallest theater company on the list. Called “a major player on the Philadelphia alternative theatre scene” by Philadelphia Weekly, Azuka produces diverse, socially conscious, and thought-provoking new plays. The company’s new play “Shitheads” opens on February 22.
Unlike the other theater companies, Azuka does not have discounted tickets. Instead, the theater company is the first in Philadelphia—and possibly the world—to offer its entire season as “Pay What You Decide”. Tickets are available to reserve ahead of time online, and are available day of at the theater. Once you see the show, you decide what the value of the experience was for you and pay as you leave.
Location: The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street (between 16th & 15th and Pine & Spruce Streets)
Tickets: Pay What You Decide