Jan 10 2014, 3:42pm CST | by Forbes
Eager to encourage an enthusiastic theatre community, Broadway sought to remedy this issue. Rather than cater exclusively to the wealthy elite, the theatres and artists were desirous of catering to a market inclusive of all those who are passionate about theatre. Realizing that the students of today are the wealthy theatergoers of tomorrow, Broadway sought to develop a creative solution to the pricing issues at hand.
Years ago, Rent tickets were selling out like crazy. But there was still a market untapped, as many complained that they simply could not afford to attend the show with ticket prices the way they were. The powers that be got together and decided that they would sell all seats in the first two rows of the orchestra section for $20 on a first come first serve basis on the day of the performance. This would serve two purposes. First, it would rope back in disenfranchised potential theatergoers who would now be able to afford Broadway tickets. Secondly, it would drum up buzz for shows via the long lines in front of the box office.
Jumping at the opportunity for discounted tickets, students began to form lines at the break of dawn. Suddenly, a new model was born. Broadway embraced the resulting enthusiasm, and began to offer held back rush and standing room only (SRO) tickets on performance day at heavily discounted rates.
Today, many students are still taking advantage of the opportunity to wait in line for inexpensive tickets. Currently, tickets for Broadway’s most popular shows are selling at very high prices on the secondary market. The Book of Mormon tickets lead the way, at an average price of $316 dollars. Wicked tickets and The LionKing tickets are close behind, at average prices of $281 and $259, respectively. And Bono’s Spider Man: TurnOff The Dark tickets are also in high demand, selling at an average price of $238 dollars. $20 tickets reflect a discount of over 90% for many of Broadway’s most popular shows.
Still, it is not easy to procure these discounted tickets. Often times, the policies are very restrictive and require valid student ID. Discount theatregoers will also have to wait in line for hours and pay cash at the window. While seat locations for held back tickets vary, they are generally not premier seats and are available only to the first few people in line on performance day. SRO tickets are a little more difficult to snag, because for most shows, all seats must be sold out in order for SRO tickets to be released. Folks with SRO tickets are assigned numbered spaces to stand in, typically the width of a standard seat. The spaces are generally located behind the orchestra.
With Broadway tickets selling at such high prices on the secondary market, theatergoers on a budget have taken quite kindly to the discount programs despite the lines and restrictions. For Broadway, the programs have indeed worked as planned, catalyzing expansion of an enthusiastic theatre community and creating additional buzz for many top shows
Source: Forbes Business
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