The Playgoer: The Sliding Scale of B'way Tkts

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Monday, November 05, 2007

The Sliding Scale of B'way Tkts

In recent years, the norm for a Rialto play's top ticket price has slowly inched up to $100. This fall alone, "Cyrano de Bergerac" tops out at $100, "August: Osage County" at $99.50, "Rock 'n' Roll" at $98.50 and "Pygmalion" at $96.25. Even Chazz Palminteri's single-set solo show, "A Bronx Tale," goes for a cool $96.50.

But as the high end is on the rise, the average amount paid by playgoers has actually gone down, thanks to the increasing prevalence of discounts and special offers. Last season, the paid average for a play slid $2.50 to about $64.

Well $64 still seems high to me. (At least I try never to pay that much, even for plays I really, really want to see.) But read on, as Variety's Gordon Cox walks us through the totally legit "black market" for legit.

Interesting side note about the new business model for all the variable pricing:

Broadway used to shy away from offering ticket discounts, for fear that auds would never pay top prices again. In practice, however, a more flexible pricing scale has increased traffic both at the high and the low ends of the price spectrum. (The airline ticket industry is the model most often cited as inspiration.)

That's right, think airlines. And think of $450 "Premium" seats as "First Class." (But, hey, where's the private tv and la-z boy chair?).

Incidentally, though:

Still, without the benefits of those super-elevated premiums, it remains tough for a play to climb into the black.

So as long as anyone wants to put non-musical drama on Broadway, the Premium's here to stay.

1 comment:

John said...

"But, hey, where's the private tv and la-z boy chair?" Too funny - I almost sprayed coffee on my laptop. And it's probably only a matter of time.