News Column

TKTS in Times Square turns 40, offers new features

June 14, 2013

YellowBrix

June 14--Let's face it: Theater lovers don't always plan in advance. Sometimes the yen for a glitzy, high-heeled hit such as "Kinky Boots" just washes over you unexpectedly. Which is why the mega-popular TKTS booth in Times Square -- which turns 40 this month -- has become a landmark for procrastinating tourists, not to mention budget-minded arts lovers.

Founded by the Theatre Development Fund in June 1973, TKTS offers theater-goers same-day seats on and off-Broadway at a discount. The drawback? The lines, of course. And a first-come-first-served policy that, in Manhattan, means you have to move fast to score seats to exactly what you want -- or choose from what's left over.

As part of its ongoing evolution, TKTS Times Square -- which reports selling more than 58.5 million tickets to date -- has introduced changes the past few years that take some of the sting out of the last-minute admissions frenzy.

There's now a dedicated "Play Only" line for non-musical productions, and a "Full Price" line for future performances for uncompromising theater patrons willing to splurge. But perhaps the biggest advancement is the TKTS app, which offers an real-time tally of what tickets are left.

On June 26, TKTS is throwing a 40thbirthday bash in Times Square. Four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the book for "Kinky Boots," is to accept a proclamation from the city on behalf of TKTS. The cast of "Forbidden Broadway" is scheduled to perform a tribute, and actress-comedian Julie Halston is set to host a group of karaoke singers who will perform Broadway hits from the past 40 years.

The drama comes to a climax toward the end of the event, however, when TKTS introduces a new, soon-to-debut "mystery service."

"It's a new program to make it even easier to see more shows when you're in town," said the Theatre Development Fund's David LeShay.

Talk about a big finish.

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(c)2013 the Los Angeles Times

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