Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

What Are Tickets to a Show Worth?

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

What Are Tickets to a Show Worth?

Article excerpt


A little more than a year ago, I wrote about the high cost of Broadway tickets and wondered how families make decisions to spend hundreds of dollars to see different shows during their visits.

At the time, I was thinking of the established or printed price of a ticket for some musicals that can range from $150 to $175 today. That's more than $600 per show for a family of four. How good does a show have to be to be "worth" that price?

It's one thing to spend $10 on a movie you don't care for, but would you feel the same way if you spent 15 times that? Or what about 60 times that amount? I've heard from many people who subscribe to Florida Studio Theatre that they're not as bothered if they don't like a particular show because the subscription rates are so low.

How do you judge the worth of a work of art? Is there a point where the reality of a performance can't possibly meet the expectations?

After winter storm Jonas blew through New York a week ago and forced the last-minute cancellation of Broadway shows on a Saturday, I started thinking about all the people who had planned for weeks or months to get tickets to shows, arranged hotel rooms and all the associated costs, only to find that there was no show to see.

But it gets worse when one of those shows is Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton," the hottest show on Broadway in years.

According to a story in The New York Times after the storm, one couple from Arkansas spent $1,500 for a pair of tickets to "Hamilton" while another from San Diego spent $1,450 for one of the canceled performances.

Producer Jeffrey Seller said he felt badly for the more than 2,500 people who had tickets for those Saturday shows, but there was no way to exchange the tickets because there are no available seats for the next nine or 10 months. That's why the producers are able to sell tickets at such a high price. Everyone wants to see the show and there is a limited supply of tickets. When I looked at the show's website a few months ago, I found tickets being offered for $900 each. …

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