Thursday, August 14, 2008

When Broadway Looks Like a Bargain

Theatre lovers do a lot of bitching about ticket prices, and with good reason. I paid $14 for a full price orchestra seat to my first Broadway show, Irene at the Minskoff Theatre. If I were to purchase that same seat for the Minskoff’s current tenant The Lion King (as if!), it would cost me $120. But who am I to carp? Older fans wax rhapsodic about paying $6 to see Martin and Pinza in the original South Pacific, so it is easy to understand their frustration with coughing up twenty times as much to see the current revival. Sure, everything is more expensive, but Broadway ticket prices have increased at far more than the general rate of inflation, thanks to the greed of theatre owners, producers and unions.

Now New York’s baseball team owners have managed to make Broadway look like a bargain. Both teams are building new stadiums, and both have recently announced the whopping new prices they will be charging for tickets. The Mets are hiking their prices a whopping 79 percent over this year, with prime seats going for $495. This is a steal compared with the Yankees, who will be charging up to $2500 – and yes, that is for a single ticket to a single game.

The cost of living in New York City is redefining insanity, but even by that ever-climbing standard, these new prices for baseball tix are beyond obscene. The most upsetting aspect of this story is that both the Mets and Yankees claim that advance sales for these overpriced ducats are strong. If the public is stupid enough to go along with this thievery, who has any right to cry foul? And mind you, we are talking about people shelling out $495 to $2500 bucks to attend ballgames that will be available on television.

So Broadway’s $120 top price suddenly looks like a bargain price for an evening’s entertainment. One might even think that Mel Brooks’ vampiric $450 premium seats for Young Frankenstein now seem reasonable. (They aren't -- especially for a second rate rehash like YF.)

What a pity that the ticket buying public is unable or just plain unwilling to stand up for itself and refuse to pay these outrageous prices. Don’t kid yourself – empty seats would swiftly lead to lower ticket prices, both at the stadiums and in theatres. But Americans are no good at denying themselves immediate gratification, and so long as the market will bear this insane ticket pricing, it will continue.

Any guesses on when Little League teams will start charging $50 to see junior strike out?

1 comment:

jeanette said...

hi John--i've been following you for years from the York to Sutton Place,etc. I missed your South Pacific there on Tues. What is your future schedule?

A suggestion--Park Ave Synog in Manhattan would be the perfect spot to do your thing. You might want to contact them? Best, Jeanette Hendler

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