The Playgoer: West End "top" tops B'way

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Friday, March 28, 2008

West End "top" tops B'way

From the Guardian:

The West End is now officially more expensive to see a show than on Broadway. Top price tickets to see the original production of Hairspray in New York are currently $110 (£55), whereas it costs £60 to see the same show at London's Shaftesbury Theatre.
Take that, Anglophiles!

Well at least they have a truly subsidized theatre to offset it.

And besides, wait till the dollar rebounds. Just wait. And wait.

Meanwhile at the National the "Travelex £10" program seems to be diminishing, unfortunately. Still it was a bold attempt to address what their AD Nicholas Hytner identified as the real problem in guaranteeing a future theatre audience:
As Hytner told me at the time, though the theatre has long offered ticket reductions to the under 25s and the over 60s, "now it's time to look after that vast group in the middle, who don't come that often because they can't afford to."
On the other hand...

His predecessor as artistic director, Trevor Nunn, had declared that arts journalists who "persist in proclaiming that 'give-away prices' are the only hope the theatre has for survival are playing a misleading and dangerous game." He went on, "The only way without sponsorship that prices can be cut is by theatres doing very small cast plays, with cheap designs and by heavily reducing the wages of actors, technicians and theatre workers generally. This amounts to a recipe for disaster for theatre in this country."

But as Sir Trevor ever directed a show with less than a million quid budget?

Some on the West End are getting brighter ideas than B'way to counter the trend:

By introducing pricing of £10-£35 for weekday performances, Avenue Q has built an audience for the show that might not have been there otherwise

Yes, imagine what Broadway could do with those Tuesday & Wednesday evening shows. $70 orchestra seats and $20 balconies--sounds good, right? Even if that means running at a loss those two nights, it sure could help drum up support for struggling shows.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Passing Strange has sort of adopted this Avenue Q policy - $25 tickets day of the show to anybody, not just students, young people, or seniors. I'm sure that means that they are running at a loss, but as you said, word of mouth is getting out there, and hopefully soon they'll be able to limit these rush seats in favor of full-priced advance tickets. Here's hoping, anyway.