Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cheap Show Tickets by a Stroke of Luck

The Book of Mormon plays at Eugene O'Neill Theatre on 49th Street. Photo by Oliver Oliveros

SHOW producers, whether they’re the Broadway or Off Broadway kind, apply the economic model of supply and demand on their show ticket prices. When a show becomes unprecedentedly popular, its producers hike ticket prices as well. Take, for example, the growing cult following of The Book of Mormon (BOM): Lead producers Anne Garefino, Scott Rudin et. al. have raised BOM’s premium mezzanine tickets from $155 to $175 apiece (premium orchestra tickets are at $477 apiece nowadays!) since it won nine nods, including Best Musical, at the recent Tony Awards. However, don’t fret, wise theatergoers – big Broadway shows, which include BOM, occasionally release a bunch of cheap (sometimes free) tickets that are announced on various social media platforms, one of which is via Twitter.

BOM creators, Trey Parker (South Park), Robert Lopez (Avenue Q) and Matt Stone (South Park), owe the phenomenal success of their show, which parodies Mormonism and other religions, to avid South Park animation fans and young theatergoers who patiently wait in line for over five hours (rain or shine) to take a chance on standing room only tickets at every performance. So, Parker, Lopez, and Stone thought of holding a free fan performance three months ago. More than 13,000 BOM fans entered the show’s lottery, which first broke out on Twitter, for a chance to win tickets to the free performance.

Similarly, we had a recent stroke of luck that led us to discounted tickets to Off Broadway’s Silence! The Musical, an unauthorized parody of the horror film Silence of the Lambs. Producers Victoria Land, Rich Affannato et al. launched a contest on Twitter last summer, which asked followers to submit their ideas of a crazy pop song revival for a horror flick – the best ideas won discounted tickets to the show. We sent “Only In My Dreams,” popularized by Debbie Gibson in the ‘80s, which we thought would best fit one of Freddie Krueger’s franchise films. Lo and behold, we won the contest! We got the best seats in the theater at $29 apiece – and these seats are regularly sold at $48 each.

The Public Theater, which produces the Broadway revival of seminal rock musical Hair also recently tapped Twitter and other social media platforms to announce its promotional tickets. Hair, which tackles the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution during the ‘60s, gave special “move-in weekend” performances for Columbia University, Fordham University and New York University students and their families prior to the beginning of the fall term classes just two weeks ago. Each mezzanine ticket costs $20 apiece only.

And the list goes on…

Majority of Broadway and Off Broadway producers mean business. However, there are times that they’re extra-generous to the ticket-buying public as well.

We suggest that you start following these show producers on Twitter and other social media platforms too. You might end up hunting down Broadway and Off Broadway ticket surprises more than we do.

Hint: Start with @BookofMormonBWY, BOM'S official twitter page.

Oliver Oliveros is regional site editor, author and photographer at BroadwayWorld.com — an online news portal covering theater, live entertainment, Broadway shows and Broadway tickets.