|ArtsBoston Discount Show Tickets|
Enjoy the Boston arts scene at a discount—but you must plan ahead, and watch out for bait-and-switch.
Arts Boston sells discounted same-day tickets to the theater, concerts, ballet, shows, and performances at more than 160 Greater Boston arts organizations.
Buy in Person
Take a look at the ArtsBoston website to see what's playing in Boston, then go to a kiosk and see what's available. You must buy your tickets in person. No phone orders are accepted for discounted tickets.
Note that a kiosk may be assigned only a certain range of seats, and they may not be the cheapest or most expensive ones, so don't expect to find tickets in the Second Balcony for half of the lowest ticket price, or discounted premium front-row-center tickets.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, arrive at the Arts Boston/BosTix kiosk a half hour before it opens—by 9:30 am (10:30 am on Sunday)—to give yourself the best chance to get seats for the performance you want. You should also have in mind an alternative choice of shows, in case there are not discounted tickets available for the show you want.
You may also be able to buy BosTix-discounted tickets for certain performances online here.
Bait & Switch!
But wait! What does "half-price" mean? The nominal price of the seat at the show will be cut in half, but then fees and service charges will be added. Here's a "half-price" ticket for a nominal $183 seat at a Broadway musical:
This is a ticket bought in person at the Arts Boston kiosk next to Faneuil Hall. The half-price seat is correctly shown as $91.50, but then a service fee of $11.45 is added, bringing the total to $102.95.
That's only a 44% discount off the nominal $183 ticket price.
Okay, so it's still a bargain, though it's falsely promoted as "half-price."
When 1/2 is Actually 1/3
But what about less expensive shows? Ticket prices are lower, but fees are nearly the same, making the discount far smaller.
I saw a $48 ticket to a jazz club show offered this way:
1/2 of $48 = $24
So "half-price" (that is, a 50% discount) is in fact only a 34% discount—more like "1/3 off."
It's still a substantial discount, but my point is this: any ticket you buy will be more expensive than you think, so don't make your plans until you know the final price.
By the way, these "service fees" and "processing fees" are tacked on to most performance tickets, especially if you buy them online or at any place that is not the actual box office of the show venue. Thus you can assume that virtually any show you want to attend will cost more than the publicized ticket price unless you go to the theater and buy from the box office; and even then, you may still pay these fees.
(My complaint is not with the fees, but with the advertising. You should be able to buy a ticket at the price advertised so you can properly plan your expenditures with no unpleasant surprises.)