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Reasonable Ticket Prices

hearthemsing22
#1Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 8:43am

All over the place I hear people complaining about high ticket prices. I'm very interested in what people think would be a reasonable ticket price, given the fact that there are many production elements to take into account as well. 

Anyone? 


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SeanD2
#2Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 8:59am

Reasonable ticket prices are whatever you can afford. Unreasonable prices are whatever you can't afford. 

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quizking101
#3Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 9:11am

Yeah, there are a lot of factors that go in.

However, consider roughly 20 years ago - the introductory “premium pricing” (for “The Producers&rdquoReasonable Ticket Prices was $100. Best seats in the house, bar none. Now, there are many shows who don’t even have their LOWEST tier of seats at that price and that’s absurd, and that’s before the litany of junk fees assessed on a purchase. Exactly why does there need to be a “handling fee” when I’m the one who ends up responsible for the tickets from the point of purchase (whether electronic or print at home)

I honestly think seats  should cap off at $200 for premium, $120 for orchestra/front mezzanine and $80 for rear mezzanine and higher. Lottery should be a flat $30. Rush prices should be tiered - $40/$30/$20 based on location of the seat they offer.


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hearthemsing22
#4Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 9:12am

SeanD2 said: "Reasonable ticket prices are whatever you can afford. Unreasonable prices are whatever you can't afford."

Right but I'm just confused when people say that tickets are so unreasonably priced...like obviously for shows there will always be people willing to pay high prices. So. Like what do they want? There are so many ways to get inexpensive tickets and just because they're not in the orchestra or something? You're still seeing the show. Like if I want to travel to Australia am I going to expect lower priced airfare? No. I'm going to save. I'm going to find less expensive travel options, or wait. I'm not going to be like "I deserve lower prices!". People have to accept they will survive without seeing some shows if they can't afford it and no this isn't being elitist or gate-keeping, that's the facts of life for anything. Some things will just be more expensive than others. 


Do any of you stop to think about how you treat others? I have no problem blocking people :)

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Scarywarhol
#5Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 9:26am

Broadway ticket prices have outpaced general inflation by double in the last thirty years, with particularly radical changes more recently, and we could have conversations about how this can be while it remains so difficult to meet running costs (hint: not actually the actors or creatives). But since the actual question was only to name a dollar value because the point is for OP to complain about non-wealthy people feeling entitled to culture, twenty bucks. 

hearthemsing22
#6Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 9:50am

Scarywarhol said: "Broadway ticket prices have outpaced general inflation by double in the last thirty years, with particularly radical changes more recently, and we could have conversations about how this can be while it remains so difficult to meet running costs (hint: not actually the actors or creatives). But since the actual question was only to name a dollar value because the point is for OP to complain about non-wealthy people feeling entitled to culture, twenty bucks."

Oh please. Complain? I'm not. The people who are like 12 (obviously exaggerating but you get my point) and trying to attend theater are the ones complaining. I'm asking for a reasonable price, since people think it can be done. I'm seriously asking, Factoring everything for a production, or box office, or breaking even with the investment for the show, what would be reasonable?


Do any of you stop to think about how you treat others? I have no problem blocking people :)

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bwayphreak234
#7Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 9:57am

There's no one answer. Every show is different. It's impossible to apply just one number to all shows across the board and say it's "reasonable". What may be a reasonable price to something like, say, Merrily We Roll Along, might not be a reasonable price to something like Purlie Victorious (just throwing out random examples). Multiple factors go into account ranging from the cast, cast size, production size, running costs, etc.


"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "

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Wick3
#8Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 10:02am

It will depend on the show. For a hit show like Hamilton back in 2016, even $500 would be considered reasonable given resale prices on stubhub were easily over $1500 at the time. On the other hand, Hamilton did reserve for every performance at least 20 seats priced at $10 each for its in-person lottery back then.

If a ticket price is capped for a show with incredible demand, then the ticket scalpers will keep most of the profits, not the producers. With dynamic ticket pricing, at least the money will go back to the production.

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Scarywarhol
#9Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 10:06am

What production? What is its budget? What is its weekly nut? Who are the landlords? Who are the producers? Is it a non-profit, or is it bankrolled by a Hollywood studio? How is it selling? How can I provide an imaginary ticket price to a show I don't know the imaginary costs of? 

None of these questions would get us to any kind of understanding of the economic and social forces that have made professional theater so inaccessible even while it generally continues to shrink in scale, of course. 

Theatrefanboy1
#10Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 10:08am

It interesting. Since 2010 I’ll have been to the city 11 times.  Each time my “theatre” budget remains the same.  In the early 2010s (2012,2014) I was able to see 10-12 shows. Just in April that same budget allowed me 5 (not one in the “orchestra” or what I would consider a “prime” seating. Most had become either mezz/balcony or rush).  The sad fact is a friend of mine who started visiting the city in 2000 has shown me ticket stubs with prices that would have allowed me to see 25 or more shows on the same budget.  
This to me is the biggest threat to Broadway theatre. The average person can no longer afford to go to “a” show never mind date night or family night.  

mar6411
#11Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 10:14am

hearthemsing22 said: "Scarywarhol said: "Broadway ticket prices have outpaced general inflation by double in the last thirty years, with particularly radical changes more recently, and we could have conversations about how this can be while it remains so difficult to meet running costs (hint: not actually the actors or creatives). But since the actual question was only to name a dollar value because the point is for OP to complain about non-wealthy people feeling entitled to culture, twenty bucks."

Oh please. Complain? I'm not. The people who are like 12 (obviously exaggerating but you get my point)and trying to attend theater are the ones complaining. I'm asking for a reasonable price, since people think it can be done. I'm seriously asking, Factoring everything for a production, or box office, or breaking even with the investment for the show, what would be reasonable?
"

You’re just doing another episode of the hearthemsing lecture series. You lecture, you get indignant, you tell everyone they’re wrong and picking on you, you refuse to engage and then you go away in a huff.  Rinse and repeat.

JasonC3
#12Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 10:23am

I'm 6'6", so I'm always looking for an aisle seat and since I'm not in NYC I'm generally hoping to buy in advance.

Until five or six years ago, I had no problem finding a decent one in mid- or rear orchestra or front mezzanine for almost any show for around $100 (including fees) with a discount code.

Many of those same seats are now either not discount eligible or are priced as mid-premium or premium.  When I am able to find discount codes for comparable seats/locations the price is almost always $130-$150 (with fees).

If I wait until the week before or week of, some of the seats then become eligible for discounts and once in awhile at a better price, but that's always a gamble for me given what I am trying to do with my seat choices.

 

 

Updated On: 9/27/23 at 10:23 AM

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dramamama611
#13Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 10:25am

^This. You started this thread (as you often to) to admonish everyone. Are most tix too expensive? Yes. If I can't afford it, I don't go. I'm okay with that. But you asked about lower costs then rail against those that answered your question . 


If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.

Jay Lerner-Z Profile Photo
Jay Lerner-Z
#14Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 10:44am

Reasonable prices are whatever you can afford? No, no, no.

Reasonable prices are prices that are a fair reflection of the costs involved in making the product, with a fair margin of profit.


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JasonC3
#15Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 1:53pm

Jay Lerner-Z said: "Reasonable prices are whatever you can afford? No, no, no.

Reasonable prices are prices that are a fair reflection of the costs involved in making the product, with a fair margin of profit.
"

SeanD's response (message #2) which you reference but did not quote is clearly from the perspective of the ticket buyer and what seems reasonable to them.  In that sense it is quite accurate as what ticket buyers consider reasonable will vary, and one of the influencing factors will be what they can afford.

 

Jay Lerner-Z Profile Photo
Jay Lerner-Z
#16Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 2:04pm

I too am talking from the ticket buyer's perspective.

A person with a high budget might be prepared to pay a ludicrous price, but only because they can afford that luxury. That does not make the price reasonable.


Beyoncé is not an ally. Actions speak louder than words, Mrs. Carter. #Dubai #$$$

hearthemsing22
#17Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 5:09pm

I think people are greedy on both ends-producers and theatergoers. Producers don't realize the average theater goer can not afford travel, plus a place to stay, food, and theater tickets. Theatergoers expect everything to be so much lower when the price of living is (unfortunately) going up and there will be things people can not afford. That's why theater is not a necessity but a luxury-like travel, vacations, etc. 


Do any of you stop to think about how you treat others? I have no problem blocking people :)

hearthemsing22
#18Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 5:28pm

quizking101 said: "Yeah, there are a lot of factors that go in.

However, consider roughly 20 years ago - the introductory “premium pricing” (for “The Producers&rdquoReasonable Ticket Prices was $100. Best seats in the house, bar none. Now, there are many shows who don’t even have their LOWEST tier of seats at that price and that’s absurd, and that’s before the litany of junk fees assessed on a purchase. Exactly why does there need to be a “handling fee” when I’m the one who ends up responsible for the tickets from the point of purchase (whether electronic or print at home)

I honestly think seats should cap off at $200 for premium, $120 for orchestra/front mezzanine and $80 for rear mezzanine and higher. Lottery should be a flat $30. Rush prices should be tiered - $40/$30/$20 based on location of the seat they offer.
"

Actually, this I agree with! These prices are something I'd love to see happen. You've finally come up with numbers that make sense and that I agree with (instead of just saying 'making ticket prices lower!!' like other people) 


Do any of you stop to think about how you treat others? I have no problem blocking people :)

Dancingthrulife2 Profile Photo
Dancingthrulife2
#19Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 5:35pm

Law school taught me that it is the fact finder who determines what is reasonable or not. So get us out a jury, and we can decide :)

Hairspray0901
#20Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 7:08pm

As someone who has been attending Broadway shows since about 2006, I have found myself saying it has become wildly unaffordable. I also believe Hamilton was the starter show/year of these insane prices. Producers saw what Hamilton was getting away with, people willingly spending $1,000 face value for orchestra tickets, and things have been out of hand since. 

To answer the OP’s question, in my personal opinion, balcony seats should be NO more than $80 (I’m looking at you, Merrily), ranging from $20-$80. The Mezzanine should range from $40-$150 pending on the theatre), and orchestra should range from $75-$225. With that said, premium should be capped at $225, and should only include center orchestra rows G, H, and I. Some theatres / shows are selling nearly the entire orchestra as premium which is absurd.

Additionally, lotteries and rush seats that are partial view (and some shows are selling seats that should be ILLEGAL to sell for any more than $10 based on how awful the view is) should be capped at $35. 
 

how this gets accomplished these days? No idea. But those would be my ideal ticket prices to get me to shut up about how expensive broadway has become. 

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Matt Rogers
#21Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 8:18pm

hearthemsing22 said: "SeanD2 said: "Reasonable ticket prices are whatever you can afford. Unreasonable prices are whatever you can't afford."

Right but I'm just confused when people say that tickets are so unreasonably priced...like obviously for shows there will always be people willing to pay high prices. So. Like what do they want? There are so many ways to get inexpensive tickets and just because they're not in the orchestra or something? You're still seeing the show. Like if I want to travel to Australia am I going to expect lower priced airfare? No. I'm going to save. I'm going to find less expensive travel options, or wait. I'm not going to be like "I deserve lower prices!". People have to accept they will survive without seeing some shows if they can't afford it and no this isn't being elitist or gate-keeping, that's the facts of life for anything. Some things will just be more expensive than others.
"

Show me a way to get a “reasonably priced ticket” to Merrily We Roll Along. I’ll wait. 

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Matt Rogers
#22Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 8:20pm

hearthemsing22 said: "Scarywarhol said: "Broadway ticket prices have outpaced general inflation by double in the last thirty years, with particularly radical changes more recently, and we could have conversations about how this can be while it remains so difficult to meet running costs (hint: not actually the actors or creatives). But since the actual question was only to name a dollar value because the point is for OP to complain about non-wealthy people feeling entitled to culture, twenty bucks."

Oh please. Complain? I'm not. The people who are like 12 (obviously exaggerating but you get my point)and trying to attend theater are the ones complaining. I'm asking for a reasonable price, since people think it can be done. I'm seriously asking, Factoring everything for a production, or box office, or breaking even with the investment for the show, what would be reasonable?
"

This is the definition of trolling. 

Jarethan
#23Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 8:25pm

I have been complaining about this ticket inflation forever.  When I was a kid in the mid-sixties, I saw lots of shows because I could always get a ticket for $3.00 in the rear mezz or balcony.  I suspect that if I were a kid today, I would never have picked up the theatre habit because the amount of $$ required to purchase even the cheapest seat would be prohibitive.  

I have always assumed there are four major causes for this ridiculous inflation.

  1. Don't get angry with me, union people, but I strongly suspect the union demands are a significant consideration.  As an example, when I was younger, shows frequently moved between theatres when they passed their glory days, and could pay cheaper rent with a move to a smaller theatre or, in some cases, a larger theatre with no prospects.  (The Subject Was Roses, which opened at what was the Royale (I can never remember if that is the Jacobs or Schoenfeld) moved to the small Helen Nayes on 44th Street, then to the Belasco, and at one point the Broadway.  These moves allowed it to run much longer than it ever would have at the Royale, a super in demand theatre forever.  In today's world, with the costs associated with moving a one-set show to another theatre, I am not sure that it ever happens anymore (can't remember one).  That has got to be a Union issue...they make it prohibitive to move.  How does a one set, three person show cost millions to open?  Unions have got to be a factor.  (By the way, I am a card-carrying Democrat, I just think think that unions are a factor in these cost issues. (I have been told that London theatre is highly subsidized by the government; I find that hard to believe with for-profit productions, but maybe it is true.  In any event, there appear to be lots of London shows which open up for short runs, at reasonable prices.  If demand is still there, but they can't retain the cast they want, they close, and reopen next season or maybe the season after that when those people are available. That would be impossible here.
  2. I suspect that producers of some shows run them like universities.  Universities appear incapable of managing expenses, with the cost of college tuition consistently exceeding inflation dramatically.  I imagine that happens with a lot of Broadway productions is the same issue...they are simply not managed as effectively as they could be.  Their solution is to raise prices, even if the market won't bear it.  Clearly, I can't prove this.
  3. In some ways, TKTS and discounting have contributed to the issue.  I suspect that some shows are priced so that they can get a decent price when the ticket is sold at TKTS.  I have seen in the past some shows raise their prices when they go onto TKTS.  (Rhetorical question: would ticket prices be lower if discounting did not exist?).  (Of course, the companion question is how many people only buy tickets at TKTS (or the like) these days, and how many of them would pay 'full price' if the tickets were 30% less (vs. the 50% discount they get at TKTS).
  4. If it costs too much to open a show, and the weekly operating costs seem to be higher than people would expect, then prices are going to continue to rise.  Point: the only way prices will go down is if costs of producing and running shows go down.  

I fear I have rambled, but one last anecdote: the first run theatre that I attended in NJ 50 years ago charged about $3.00 to see a movie; today (no IMAX) they charge $15.00 (5 times as much).   At that time, you really could get a cheapest seat for most shows for $3 to $5)   That would have been enough to see Follies or Company or ALNM or A Chorus Line or ....  That is, you could go see a movie in Jersey or get a cheap ticket and see a show on Broadway.  Now, a cheap ticket to most shows would cost between 3 times to 12-13 times as much.  That is just crazy.  

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scripps
#24Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/27/23 at 9:58pm

Re: TKTS, I am still reeling from buying tix to The Great Comet July 4th weekend of 2017 for 40% off. Granted I took my sweet time seeing the show and here it was on the TKTS board in Downtown Brooklyn Groban's final weekend, so it was now or never. I purchased what appeared to be a pair of released house seats 4th row orchestra on the aisle for around $145 each. Granted they were great seats and I got a pierogi, an egg shaker, and even a note, but $145 at TKTS for a ticket? I still can't believe it.

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kdogg36
#25Reasonable Ticket Prices
Posted: 9/28/23 at 11:39am

Jarethan said: "I suspect that producers of some shows run them like universities. Universities appear incapable of managing expenses, with the cost of college tuition consistently exceeding inflation dramatically. I imagine that happens with a lot of Broadway productions is the same issue...they are simply not managed as effectively as they could be. Their solution is to raise prices, even if the market won't bear it."

Higher education and the performing arts are both affected by the phenomenon of (relatively) fixed productivity. In most industries - agriculture, communications, manufacturing, you name it - technological advances have enabled the average worker to become significantly more productive decade after decade, and average salaries have increased accordingly. Unfortunately, the same level of growth in productivity is impossible when you're teaching a college class, performing a symphony, or producing a Broadway show. However, salaries in these fields still need to increase to keep up with inflation, which means that the costs for the consumer need to increase faster than overall inflation.

This is something we learned about in an "Economics of the Arts" class I took in college, and it makes sense to me. I'm certainly not claiming that it's the only reason ticket prices have increased so much, but it's probably one of the big reasons, and there's no easy solution for it.