Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Little Price Gouging

The American Express exclusive pre-sale for A Little Night Music starts tomorrow and the Telecharge website has listed the prices for the upcoming first-ever Broadway revival of the romantic Sondheim classic. Telecharge has released the ticket price information on the upcoming tuner that stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury.

Tuesday - Thursday
Orchestra: $132.00
Mezzanine (Rows A-F): $132.00
Mezzanine (Rows G-J): $102.00
Balcony: $52.00

Friday - Sunday:
Orchestra: $137.00
Mezzanine (Rows A-F): $137.00
Mezzanine (Rows G-J): $107.00
Balcony: $57.00

Tuesday - Thursday:
Premium Seating: $277.00
Aisle Seating: $157.00 (May only be purchased in pairs.)

Friday, Saturday matinee, Sunday:
Premium Seating: $352.00
Aisle Seating: $162.00 (May only be purchased in pairs.)

Saturday evening:
Premium Seating: $377.00
Aisle Seating: $162.00 (May only be purchased in pairs.)

All prices include a $2.00 facility fee.

Well, I do love me some Night Music and I will get to see this one way or another. However, for a minimalist production (and an orchestra of SEVEN) I do feel that this is rather exorbitant ($102 for rear mezzanine...?) Granted you do have the headline making Broadway debut of Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, but her career since Chicago has been somewhat lacking. Angela Lansbury was the draw for Blithe Spirit, but that revival wasn't asking for a first born or a kidney in exchange for the privilege. For this sort of money, I expect a lavish set, costumes and the full 26 pieces in the pit. The $52/57 seat at the Walter Kerr is in what my friend Noah terms "that balcony on top of Mount Everest."

Though the "experts" are telling us we are heading out of the recession that doesn't mean we are quite there yet. It's nice to see a plethora of shows opening instead of posting closing notices like they were doing this time last year. However, that doesn't mean that people can necessarily afford those higher prices for shows. Prices do go up, inflation happens, but this latest pricing is rather absurd. And you know what grinds my gears? The whole "aisle pair" thing. What about an individual with special needs who requires a single seat on the aisle? If ticket prices continue along these lines, theatre going for individuals like myself will become more and more of a luxury than a leisure. Discount codes have yet to be released, and no word yet on a student or general rush policy. Also, depending on how it sells it could also end up on TDF, so there's hope yet.

However, while there's the $2 facility fee that's already included in the price there are also handling fees, service charges and in some cases, shipping fees. So add that to the ticket price. If there's two of you, multiply it accordingly. Add dinner, travel fare, babysitter money. A night at the theatre seems to be becoming an increasingly upper class affair. It would be nice if the powers that be remembered us normal middle class folk. In the words of the formidable Madame Armfeldt, "Let us hope this lunacy is just...a trend."


Vance said...

You know, I'm all for producers making some money and charging what they can, but seriously? over $50 for those Balcony seats at the Kerr? That's ridiculous. $102 for rear Mezz? I hear ya. What the!?

Gil said...

We keep hitting this trend with higher and higher priced tickets. The unfortunate thing is that if high-priced tickets don't work--either for a show or in general--we're probably seeing no ticket pricing reductions. Instead, we'll see this accomplished by more BroadwayBox-style discounts. Which I get generally--tourists are going to spend the full price while you and I go cheaper. But at some point ($102 for Mezzanine seats), I can't help but think it becomes harmful...

SarahB said...

Send in the bankrupty lawyers because certainly a night at the Kerr could potentially bankrupt a person or two. How appropriate that I can see the Kerr from my office amongst bankruptcy attorneys. I guess I'll be in the balcony a time or two.

Anonymous said...

An orchestra of SEVEN? Forget about it.

Kevin Daly said...

I personally wonder if Catherine Zeta-Jones salary demands had anything to do with such a high ticket price. I'm hoping for TDF, rush, broadwaybox, anything to keep the moths away from my wallet!

A $102 rear mezzanine seat is outrageous.