Industry Press / 06.08.23
TKTS® Turns 50 In Times Square
ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28 AT 11 A.M. TO FEATURE A PROCLAMATION FROM THE CITY OF NEW YORK; SPECIAL GUESTS S. EPATHA MERKERSON, ERIC ULLOA, BROADWAY INSPIRATIONAL VOICES; AND A BROADWAY SING-ALONG
TDF’S PROGRAM—WHICH REVOLUTIONIZED SAME-DAY DISCOUNT TICKET SALES IN NEW YORK CITY, DOMESTICALLY AND AROUND THE WORLD—HAS SOLD MORE THAN 68 MILLION TICKETS TO THOUSANDS OF STAGE PRODUCTIONS
New York, NY, June 8, 2023 – On Wednesday, June 28, TDF’s TKTS, which revolutionized same-day discount theatre tickets for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, marks 50 years in Times Square. Starting at 11am, there will be a special celebration in honor of TKTS’ golden anniversary behind the TKTS Booth on Broadway and 47th Street, in front of the red steps. The City of New York will present a proclamation to TDF (formerly known as Theatre Development Fund), which will be accepted on our behalf by S. Epatha Merkerson, a two-time Tony Award nominee and beloved star of Law & Order and Chicago Med. The emcee of the event will be Eric Ulloa, an actor, playwright and TDF Wendy Wasserstein Project mentor. A highlight will be the Tony honored, grammy-nominated Broadway Inspirational Voices, who will perform a medley of songs from Broadway musicals of the past 50 years, arranged by the ensemble's artistic director Allen René Louis.
Afterward, TKTS patrons and fans are invited to get in on the action by singing along to Broadway show tunes played by Marie’s Crisis pianist Franca Vercelloni. There will also be TKTS gift certificate giveaways, TKTS trivia and a roaming photo booth.
“The look of the TKTS booth may have changed over the years, but what happens at it has not. 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 Victoria Bailey, TDF’s Executive Director. “Among the many things TKTS has done over the years is to build new audiences. Over 30% 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 theatregoers and grateful to have been of service to New Yorkers, tourists from all over the US and indeed the world.”
“TDF approached me and my business partner John Schiff to design a temporary structure around a trailer for $5,000,“ said Bob Mayers, partner at Mayers & Schiff, the architectural firm hired to design the original half-price ticket booth in Duffy Square in 1973. “We came up with the name TKTS and built the piping and canvas sails above the structure. It’s mind boggling that over the course of 50 years the TKTS mark has become an internationally recognizable symbol of theatre. It just goes to show that you never know what impact your work will have.”
Operated by TDF, a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, TKTS Times Square opened for business on June 25, 1973, and quickly became a mecca for theatregoers from all over the world. Selling same-day discount tickets and providing an urban fellowship of theatre lovers on Duffy Square (47th Street and Broadway), TKTS is one of New York City’s most photographed landmarks. The current TKTS Booth, housed under red glass steps, opened in 2008 and has garnered more than a dozen international design awards. The glowing red staircase above TKTS was the first public space opened in Times Square, and it quickly became a popular respite for locals and visitors alike.
To date, TKTS has been responsible for 68.6 million admissions to thousands of Broadway and Off- Broadway productions returning over $2.68 billion in revenue to those productions over the past half century. The small service charge (currently $7 per ticket) is used to operate the Booth and to help fund TDF’s myriad School, Accessibility and Community programs
When TDF opened the Times Square TKTS during the administration of Mayor John V. Lindsay, its supporters did not realize they were creating a phenomenon that would be replicated worldwide. After TKTS’s amazing success during its first few years, TDF set up a special National Services division that helped other not-for-profit performing arts service organizations open their own same-day discount ticket booths. Using TKTS as a model, TDF helped develop booths in Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, London and Sydney.
TDF operates a satellite TKTS Booth at Lincoln Center, located at 61 West 62nd Street in the David Rubenstein Atrium. To learn more about TKTS go to: www.tdf.org/tkts
ABOUT TDF: Founded in 1968, TDF (formerly known as Theatre Development Fund) is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. We fulfill our mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities and support the makers of the performing arts.
We are known for our theatregoing programs, including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booths and the TDF Membership program; Accessibility programs (including open captioning, audio description, Autism Friendly Performances and the Veterans Theatregoing Program), Education & Community Engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York City students annually and thousands of underserved individuals), as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research Programs. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to tdf.org. FB/Instagram/Twitter: @tdfnyc.