Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How the Theatre Development Fund Works


Theatre Development Fund Membership
Mario Voegeli and Angela Harp of Zurich, Switzerland, check their tickets to "The Glass Menagerie," after purchasing them at the TKTS booth in Times Square in New York.
Mario Voegeli and Angela Harp of Zurich, Switzerland, check their tickets to "The Glass Menagerie," after purchasing them at the TKTS booth in Times Square in New York.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Not just anybody can become a member of the Theatre Development Fund (TDF). To qualify for membership, you have to be one of the following:

  • A performing arts professional
  • A full-time student
  • A full-time teacher
  • A staff member for a nonprofit organization
  • A civil service employee
  • A member of a union
  • A retired person
  • A member of the armed forces
  • A member of the clergy

That covers a lot of people, but not everybody. If you don't qualify you can still avail yourself of TKTS discounts or the educational programs that TDF offers, but you won't be able to get the discounted theater tickets that TDF offers only to its members.

If you do qualify, you can apply online at TDF's Membership Application Web site. You'll need to pay an annual fee of $30 and you'll also need to provide proof that you're eligible. For instance, you might be required to send a copy of a membership card from a qualifying group.

Once your membership has been accepted, you'll be eligible for discounts on as many as 200 different Broadway and off-Broadway shows, including dance performances and music concerts. At the time of this writing, shows eligible for discounts include such Broadway perennials as The Fantasticks and Avenue Q, not to mention the American Ballet Theatre, the New York Philharmonic and New York City Ballet. With your membership, tickets for performances will be in the range $20 to $37 a ticket, which can represent up to 70 percent off the normal ticket price, with certain off-Broadway productions available for as little as $9 per ticket.

Whether you're a member or not, the Theatre Development Fund offers services that anybody interested in live theater can take advantage of. Of course, these benefits are only useful if you're in the New York area, but the TDF has a special program for people who live at least 100 miles (161 kilometers) from New York City. It's called a TDF National Membership. You still need to have one of the qualifications listed above, but the price of membership for non-New Yorkers is a much lower: just $12 a year.

For more information about the Theatre Development Fund and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.