Free First Previews

Continuing The Public Theater’s mission to make theater accessible to all, free tickets will be given out for the first preview performance of shows in The Public’s downtown season at Astor Place.

The FREE FIRST PREVIEW initiative expands on Joe Papp’s vision to engage the whole city in the transformative experience of theater that started more than 50 years ago with Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte, and has since served more than five million people with over 150 free productions.

FREE TICKETS can be accessed through the TodayTix Digital Lottery, The Public Theater in person lottery, and the standby line at The Public.

Tickets will be available via the TodayTix digital lottery, which will launch one week before the first preview of each show. Winners will be notified by email and push notification between 12:00pm and 3:00pm on the day of the first preview. You must confirm your winning tickets in the TodayTix app within one hour of being notified.

A limited number of free tickets will be distributed via lottery in the lobby of The Public Theater at Astor Place. Entries will be accepted on the day of the performance starting at 11:00am with names drawn at 12pm (noon). Limit of two tickets per person. One entry per person.

A digital standby will begin at the box office starting at 2:00 pm the day of the first preview performance. Patrons may enter this digital queue by visiting The Public Theater box office in person.  Patrons are discouraged from arriving to form a line in the lobby of The Public Theater earlier than 2:00 pm.  Once in the digital queue patrons will be asked to return to The Public no later than thirty (30) minutes prior to the scheduled curtain and check in with the box office. Patrons who fail to return within that window of time will forfeit their place in the queue.  Free standby tickets may become available 30 minutes prior to the scheduled curtain time of each first preview performance. Patrons are able to acquire two (2) tickets per person in line and all tickets are subject to availability.

Patrons will be required to have a Public Theater patron ID to receive tickets and may confirm or create their ID before arriving at the theater by visiting Staff will also be on hand at the theater to assist in this process if need be.

Upcoming Free First Preview Performances

Sea Wall/ A Life

Friday, February 1, 2019
8:00 PM
Newman Theater
About The Show

White Noise

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
7:00 PM
Anspacher Theater
About The Show

Ain't No Mo'

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
7:00 PM
LuEsther Hall
About The Show

**No purchase necessary. Enter up to one week in advance. Winners who do not confirm their tickets in app, or do not pick their tickets up at The Public Box Office by one half-hour prior to the performance forfeit their seats and tickets will be released to the standby line. Any purchase will not enhance chances of winning. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Must be 18 or older to enter. Lottery tickets may not be transferred and have no retail value, and are not redeemable for cash. Void where prohibited. Entrants agree to these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding in all matters relating to this lottery.


1) Download the TodayTix app or visit the website, and select TodayTix Free First Previews with The Public.

2) Enter the lottery for two free tickets.**

3) On the confirmation screen, you may double or triple your odds by sharing your entry via Facebook and Twitter.

Make sure your name and e-mail address are correct and that TodayTix push notifications are turned on, so you can receive confirmation of Lottery status. You will be notified if you've won between noon and 3pm on the day of the show. You must confirm your winning tickets in the TodayTix app or on the website within one hour of being notified. Winners may begin to pick up their tickets at 5:30 pm at The Public Theater Box Office, tickets that are not claimed by 30 minutes prior to the scheduled curtain time of the performance will be forfeited to the standby line.