The Playgoer: Post-Strike Box Office

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Post-Strike Box Office

For a lot of fledgling new shows, not so hot.

Funny, I expected a slew of discounts for the more obscure titles. And so did the professionals!

“Frankly, there are going to be a lot of wild discounts going on for the next few weeks,” said Chris Boneau, a Broadway press agent. (Quoted in NYT)
A week later, that turns out not to be the case. Outside of an All-Seats $25 offer for the first night back of Chicago, the big shows are doing just fine.

But you'd think if the property is a 100-year-old never produced play, with no stars, and an uninviting title, they'd be paying us to fill their seats. Think again:

``Is He Dead?'' is the title of a never-produced Mark Twain comedy opening on Broadway on Sunday.

It's also a fair question to ask about the show's box- office vigor, given the release late yesterday of ticket sales for 33 Broadway shows since a stagehands strike was settled on Nov. 28.

"Is He Dead?'' grossed $52,353 over four performances, according to figures from the League of American Theatres and Producers. An average of 260 people bought tickets for each show, in a theater that seats 922. That's only 28 percent of capacity.

Bloomberg's Philip Boroff goes on to list Conor McPherson's widely praised Seafarer as a similar case.

I know producers must think there's nothing to gain from cutting prices ($55 is considered a "steal" from many of the email-ads I get). They figure what's the point of filling the house if you'll never turn a profit.

Well consider this, all you non-famous "straight" plays out there--you're gonna lose your investment anyway, odds are. Might as well get the word out that you just may be doing good work.

I think if either of the above mentioned shows offered all seats at $25 Tuesday-Thursday night, for even just one week, their long-term buzz would grow exponentially.

1 comment:

Setting the Record said...

For the record, both Is He Dead and The Seafarer are offering $26 tues-thursday this week. Seafarer is even extending the discount through year's end...It's only at the box office and I suppose is not well publicized enough, but they're available, seat locations at discretion of management.

Seafarer is rightly praised, I see Is He Dead tomorrow...