nps9602.tmp - How Much Did Your Seat Cost? Page 1 of 5 July...

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July 20, 2003 How Much Did Your Seat Cost? By DAVID LEONHARDT s they file into their orchestra seats just before 8 p.m., there is little to suggest that they have not all paid the same price. They are about to watch the same Broadway show, after all, and they will all be sitting in the most expensive section of the theater. But tucked in their pockets or folded in their hands, their tickets tell a different story, one that many producers would like to keep somewhat quiet. Sitting just feet from one another, sometimes in the same row, are theatergoers who have paid dizzyingly varied prices for their seats. With the help of the Internet, many people are buying tickets with discounts similar to those at TKTS, but doing so well in advance and avoiding the Times Square booth's famously long lines. Others continue to pay the list price at the box office or slightly more at Telecharge or Ticketmaster. A small number of people are even paying the theater two or three times the normal price to secure prime seats at the last minute, a service that was once available only from scalpers. This revolution in variable pricing has changed the business of Broadway. Outside of a few well-known discount sources, people long paid the same price for the same seats. But now the purchase of a theater ticket has come to resemble the purchase of an airline ticket. For complete control — the ability to choose your seat and the date you sit there — you will probably pay top dollar. In most other cases, you can make a deal. From "Take Me Out" to "Aida," the discounting is happening at almost every show but the hottest ones. Even "The Producers," once the epitome of high-cost theater, joined the list this month. "For many, many years, the going theory of the old guard was that it would be the death knell of the theater business if you got into deep discounts and variable pricing on any regular basis," said John F. Breglio, a prominent entertainment lawyer at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. "That has been eroded dramatically." In large part, the theater slowdown caused by the Sept. 11 attacks, the Iraq war and the nation's lingering economic funk forced producers to adopt today's variable pricing. Desperate to fill seats, they have begun sending more coupons through regular mail and e-mail and posting more discounts on Broadway Web sites. Each of these offers includes Page 1 of 5 How Much Did Your Seat Cost? 7/20/2003 ..
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a code — like PRSVM20, which has taken $20 off the price of many tickets to "The Producers" — that people give when buying tickets at the box office, over the phone or online. Theater fans have responded by listing these discount codes on their own Web sites,
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This note was uploaded on 02/24/2010 for the course ECO 126 taught by Professor J during the Spring '06 term at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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nps9602.tmp - How Much Did Your Seat Cost? Page 1 of 5 July...

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