Pearls of Box Office Wisdom

If you’ve ever been through the doors of our Box Office, you know firsthand how helpful our staff is. With more than thirty years of collective experience between these staff members on any given day, The Lincoln Center Box Office has seen it all. As we start a new year, our Box Office staff wants to share some of the wisdom they’ve gained over the years.

Navigating On-Sale Days

The busiest days for Box Office are always on-sale days, when tickets go on sale for the first time for any given performance. From dance recitals to world-class comedians, there isn’t a rush that The Lincoln Center Box Office hasn’t seen and handled with extreme grace under pressure.

“It used to be people had to line up at the door to guarantee they could get tickets. Now that our lives are more online, that’s changed,” say the Box Office Associates. “If you want to make sure you get the best seats, the fastest way is always to buy online. However, there are fees attached that offset the cost of the ticketing software that allows that convenience. We keep our fees as low as possible, and are around only a tenth of what other ticketing services charge.”

Some patrons prefer to come in for a little more hands-on service, as well as to avoid paying convenience fees. Some people like to call because it’s a flat service fee across tickets rather than paying fees on each ticket. “But there are other costs involved with that as well, even if they aren’t monetary.”

“The phone lines are always very busy on on-sale days, and while you reduce some costs with the flat phone fee, it can often be at the expense of good seats and your time while you wait on hold. We prioritize the customers who come in-person, and take phone calls in between so phone is not usually the quickest way to get seats.”

The average phone call at the Box Office is around 10 minutes. “It’s not as simple as ‘I want tickets to this performance.’ We have to get your information, describe the pricing, understand your preference for seating and sightlines, and then take your payment. All of those seem like small things, but they can take some time which can lead to long hold times.”

Why do we need your information? “Sometimes shows get canceled, or postponed. Sometimes we learn of sightline issues the day of the show and may need to move patrons to a new seat. We need your contact information to do that, that’s why you must have an account to buy tickets at The Lincoln Center.”

seat Selection

There are no bad seats at The Lincoln Center, but there are some seats that are better for certain events or personal preferences. “There’s a difference between a single comedian and a dance show,” our Box Office Associates say. “It also depends on what you like. Some people like to be close to the action and want seats closest to the stage. For others, looking up is a strain on the neck.”

While it may seem like it’s personal preference, the Box Office does have some general advice. “It depends on what is more important to the customer, but we often suggest the mezzanine for dance shows so you can see the floor patterning from a wider angle. For symphonic shows, listening is far more important than seeing everything, and no seat has a better listening experience than another. If you want to see the virtuosity of the soloisits, however, we always suggest finding a seat toward the left of the hall.”

The lower and upper operas are good seats at good prices, but can sometimes have obstructions. “If seeing the whole show is important to you, we suggest paying a little more and getting seats in the center of the hall.”

As for the Magnolia Theatre, the best seats are always in the center. Unlike the Performance Hall, where one has to look up to the stage if you’re up close, the Magnolia Theatre stage ends at about waist height of the first row. People who love the intimate feel of performances and love to see actors’ expressions should definitely snatch these seats first.

Good seats also depend on your height. “The rake (the angle of incline) in the orchestra is milder, so if you typically have trouble seeing over people’s heads, you may want to find a seat in the Upper Orchestras or the Mezzanine where the rake is a bit steeper.”

Desired Attire

“Some people who are not frequent patrons of the arts are intimidated by old-fashioned ideas about the theatre and ask about dress code,” say our Box Office Associates. “But it doesn’t really matter. The theatre is for everyone, so you can dress however you want to! You can wear a prom dress or jeans and a T-shirt. What is important is that you feel comfortable being yourself.”

If there is one thing the Box Office loves, it’s a theme. Whether it’s dressing up in leopard prints and cat ears for Andrew Lloyd Weber’s CATS, or wearing all pink for Legally Blonde, the Box Office staff loves to celebrate the creativity one finds in the performing arts.

“We love it when theaters-goers dress up too! It was so cool to see all the princess dresses and crowns for Anastasia and Disney Princess. We also love the patrons who do fun makeup, like one patron who painted the David Bowie lightning bolt on her face to see Complexions’ Stardust.” Indeed, The Lincoln Center halls have been full of Star Wars cosplayers, Renaissance reenactors, cowboys and even patrons in pajamas.

There are some caveats, though. “We do prefer, however, that you leave hats that may obstruct other people’s views at home,” says our Box Office Associates. For example, at country music shows, the Box Office will often get complaints from patrons about not being able to see around cowboys’ hats. “We try to do everything we can to make each concert experience the best possible, but we cannot control what people wear into our theaters. We can try and reseat if there is a big issue, but there is no guarantee we can do this, especially if a show is sold out.”

Additionally, if you like to spruce up with a little perfume or cologne, The Box Office advises against it. “Unfortunately, many people are allergic to perfumes and colognes. Unbeknownst to you, you could be making someone’s experience really awful.”


There isn’t a Box Office in this country that hasn’t had to deal with ticket scammers. “If you’re on a website that looks sketchy,” says one Box Office associate, “it probably is.”

“It’s one of the more heartbreaking things we have to handle,” our Box Office Associates say.  “Sometimes people will buy tickets through ticket resellers’ websites that cost three to four times more than they cost at face value through These ticket resellers’ websites often look legitimate and even display our actual seating charts. Sometimes, patrons will be able to purchase valid seats through these resellers, but sometimes those seats won’t be together. Even worse, sometimes the resellers scam patrons out of their money and then they don’t actually supply valid tickets at all.”

“The ticket reseller’s websites are tricky. They pay for ads so they show up at the top of many Google searches.” The Lincoln Center does what it can to combat these predatory practices by trying to compete for ad space on Google searches, and we report scammer websites to Google when we find them. “Unfortunately, the practice of ticket reselling is completely legal and until laws surrounding ticket brokers change, it’s a game of whack-a-mole where the mole is very nimble.”

“Our advice is NEVER buy tickets from any website except, the official website of The Lincoln Center. Tickets at are guaranteed to be valid and sold at their true face value. Or, call our Box Office at 970-221-6730. We love our jobs because we get to help patrons like you and we’re pretty great at it too!”

What we’re looking forward to

One of the perks of working at The Lincoln Center Box Office is the opportunity to see The Lincoln Center’s LC LIVE nationally touring shows for free. Here’s what our Box Office Associates are most excited to see in the coming months:

Abigail, Shannon – The Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience
Holly – SNAP
Kayleigh – The Book of Mormon
Peter – MOMIX: Alice
Ingrid – Come from Away
Katie – Omnium Circus
Megan, Lisa – Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Being Alive