What Happens If I Miss the Show?

Couldn't make it to the theater that night? You may be in luck

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Sometimes we can't predict the curves that life will be throwing at us. We buy tickets for the theater, assuming that everything in our lives will go as planned, and then suddenly a child becomes sick, or the traffic is so snarled and dense that we're simply not able to make it to the theater in time. When emergencies or vicissitudes arise on days when you have tickets to see a Broadway show (Hey, it happens to the best of us), you might just assume that missing curtain time means that you're out of luck.

 

Not always. Sure, when you buy tickets, you almost always hear or read that all sales are final, with no refunds or exchanges. That's because allowing refunds or exchanges would be an utter nightmare for the ticketing agencies, as they would spend more time accommodating such changes than they do actually selling those tickets in the first place. 

But for many Broadway shows, if you have to miss the performance for some reason, you may be able to get into that show at a later date. It's called "past-dating," as in trying to get into the show past the date for when you've purchased a ticket. It's not an official policy, so you probably won't be able to find anything in writing to confirm that such policies exist. But many Broadway theaters will allow you to attend at a later date, provided there's ticket availability for that show. 

Ah, yes. The fine print. For some shows, you might have to call on the day of the performance to see if anything is available.

In other cases, you may have to make your request in writing, send back the unused tickets, and list a number of alternate dates when you can make it. When the show that you're seeing is a big hit (Hamilton, say, or The Book of Mormon), you may have to wait a few months, perhaps even more than a year.

Plus, you're very likely going to be going on a weeknight, probably a Tuesday or a Wednesday. But, hey, it's better than just sucking up that $300, or whatever price you paid. 

If you miss a show, you can start by contacting the ticketing agency (usually Ticketmaster or Telecharge). If you bought your tickets at the box office, you could try stopping by in person and graciously asking the box office staff if there's any way of getting in on that particular day, or a future day. If you don't live near New York City, you can try requesting a date when you plan on being back in the city.

In all of these cases, you're sort of depending on the good nature and largesse of the ticketing agent or box-office staffer, so it pays to be patient, courteous, and grateful. (Remember: they don't have to do this for you. No refunds or exchanges, right?)