On June 28, the Times Square TKTS booth will celebrate its 50th anniversary. A ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. in front of the booth’s red steps at 47th Street and Broadway to acknowledge the milestone.
TKTS changed the industry when it began offering same-day discount tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Today, the Times Square location in addition to an outpost at Lincoln Center offer discount tickets to same-day matinée and evening performances and next-day matinées.
Eric Ulloa, an actor, playwright and TDF Wendy Wasserstein Project mentor, will serve as the emcee. During the event, The City of New York will present a proclamation to TDF. Actor S. Epatha Merkerson, a two-time Tony Award nominee, will be on hand to accept on behalf of the organization. Grammy-nominated ensemble Broadway Inspirational Voices will perform a medley of songs from Main Stem musicals of the past 50 years, arranged by the ensemble's artistic director Allen René Louis.
Following the ceremony, TKTS patrons and fans will be entertained with a sing-a-long to Broadway tunes, played by Marie’s Crisis pianist Franca Vercelloni. There will also be TKTS gift certificate giveaways, trivia and a photo booth.
The original Times Square TKTS booth opened on June 25, 1973. That structure was intended to be temporary, according to architect Bob Mayers, partner at Mayer & Schiff, who worked on the project. The booth visitors see today, with its signature red steps, was unveiled in 2008.
TKTS is operated by TDF, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining the performing arts by eliminating barriers that prevent attendance. “The look of the TKTS booth may have changed over the years, but what happens at it has not,” TDF’s executive director Victoria Bailey said in a statement.
The TKTS program has led to 68.6 million admissions to Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, returning more than $2.68 billion in revenue to those productions over the past 50 years. TKTS charges a minimal service fee which supports its education, accessibility and community programs.
“For 50 years, TKTS has provided affordable tickets to people on a budget who would not be able to attend Broadway and Off-Broadway any other way,” said Bailey. “Among the many things TKTS has done over the years is to build new audiences. Over 30 percent of folks who get tickets at TKTS have never been to a Broadway show before. We’re proud to be able to continue to be the entry point for millions of new theatergoers and grateful to have been of service to New Yorkers, tourists from all over the U.S. and, indeed, the world.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Victoria Bailey’s name on second mention. This has been corrected.