Business and Finance

Broadway is back — are high ticket prices, too?

Even after an 18-month pause, the present should go on.

Several Broadway productions are reopening this month, an important step in New York City’s street to restoration from the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, the Great White Way welcomed back such fixtures as “Hamilton,” “The Lion King,” “Wicked” and “Chicago.”

And that follows a handful of different current openings and re-openings, from the 2019 Tony Award-winning musical “Hadestown” to the brand new, critically acclaimed play “Pass Over.”

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda spoke of the importance of Broadway’s return in a speech to the audience on Tuesday. “I don’t ever want to take live theater for granted ever again,” he stated.

Such heartfelt sentiment however, Broadway’s comeback begs a giant query: As the trade tries to woo theatergoers, who should put on masks and present proof of vaccination with a purpose to attend exhibits, will or not it’s ready to supply vital financial savings on the notoriously costly tickets, which averaged $123.87 in the course of the 2018-19 season? (And so-called “premium” seats typically went for greater than $400.)

For now, Broadway doesn’t seem like in a cut price mind set.

So far, exhibits are promoting tickets in strong numbers, in response to producers and trade officers. A manufacturing of “Waitress,” the Broadway hit that first opened in 2016 and was revived this September, set a single-performance sales record of $197,878 at Ethel Barrymore Theatre, the place it’s enjoying via early January.

‘Lion King’ tickets are barely cheaper, and scoring ‘Hamilton’ seats is a bit of simpler

That means there could also be little incentive for producers to decrease costs — at the least at this stage. Some producers advised MarketWatch they are holding costs according to what they charged previous to the pandemic. But it’s tough to get an correct image of the place issues stand now, as a result of, in a break from custom, trade commerce group the Broadway League isn’t releasing weekly worth and gross sales knowledge this season.

That stated, some costs have dropped barely. Tickets for a late September “Lion King” efficiency begin at $75 and run as high as $215, according to Ticketmaster. Just previous to the pandemic, the vary for the present was $97 to $235, in response to the Broadway League. (Disney
which produces the present, declined a request for remark.)

One piece of excellent information for theatergoers: There could also be an opportunity to get a seat for exhibits that beforehand offered out months prematurely. A working example: “Hamilton,” considered one of Broadway’s hardest tickets to attain, has some restricted availability within the weeks forward, in response to Ticketmaster listings. (A “Hamilton” press consultant declined to remark.) The high ticket can attain $599 for choose fall performances, in response to Ticketmaster, although seats are additionally out there for $199.

No one expects Broadway to interrupt any attendance information this season

It’s doable costs for exhibits may go decrease within the coming weeks and months, theater professionals word. In current years, the trade has embraced a dynamic pricing mannequin that permits productions to readily alter what they cost based mostly on provide and demand. And even in Broadway’s greatest years, it typically faces a gross sales droop within the historically gradual post-holiday interval of January and February.

Plus, this season brings all kinds of added challenges.

When the trade shuttered its theaters in March 2020 on the onset of the pandemic, it had been on a roll for a number of years, buoyed by a wave of current hit exhibits, together with “Hamilton,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Come From Away.” In the 2018-19 season, Broadway set a brand new box-office report of $1.83 billion. Attendance additionally soared to a brand new high 14.8 million.


The viewers applauds as ‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda offers a curtain speech on the Richard Rodgers Theatre, in New York, because the present opened Tues. Sept. 14, 2021, after being closed in early 2020 attributable to COVID-19 issues.

AP/Craig Ruttle

But nobody expects any information to be damaged this season. For starters, it will likely be months earlier than all of Broadway’s 41 theaters reopen. Producers are rolling out productions, each new and returning, slowly over the approaching months, virtually as if to offer every present its personal runway.

The trade is additionally grappling with a well being disaster that refuses to go away. When the first Broadway production opened in June — a reprise of Bruce Springsteen’s merely titled “Springsteen on Broadway” present — COVID-19 case numbers have been coming down. But since then, the delta variant has prompted a nationwide uptick in each instances and deaths.

Theatergoers must wear masks and, under a New York City mandate, must show proof of vaccination.

Broadway has instituted quite a few security measures, each for audiences and performers. In explicit, theatergoers should put on masks and, beneath a New York City mandate, should present proof of vaccination.

With such protocols in place, Broadway professionals say audiences appear to really feel the dangers are minimal. And as extra exhibits open, the arrogance stage amongst theatergoers is prone to solely develop, stated Dori Berinstein, a Tony Award-winning producer and chief govt and co-founder of the Broadway Podcast Network.

It’s about “people taking that first step,” she stated.

Broadway is nonetheless lacking a giant chunk of its viewers

Still, the most important problem Broadway might face is {that a} sizable chunk of the viewers — particularly, the vacationers who come to New York City and see exhibits as a part of their Big Apple journey — merely isn’t there on the pre-COVID ranges. In 2019, the town welcomed a report 66.6 million guests, however in 2021 it’s anticipating the entire shall be 36.1 million.

Producers stay hopeful that tourism will rebound over time. In the in the meantime, they are saying they are advertising and marketing closely to the regional and home markets. Some producers additionally say they might profit from the actual fact their exhibits are extra geared for a theater-savvy, native market — that means an viewers that favors serious-minded musicals and performs.

Chris Harper, producer of a revival of the landmark Stephen Sondheim musical “Company,” believes his present, which opens this fall, shall be one which appeals to such theatergoers. Plus, he notes that the present’s key theme — in regards to the significance of human connection — can have particular resonance within the COVID period.

“’Company’ is very relevant” proper now, he stated.

Broadway’s return is a part of a a lot bigger effort to deliver New York City back to life. Off-Broadway theaters are additionally reopening: One of the hottest tickets in town could also be “What Happened?: The Michaels Abroad,” a drama, staged in a 74-seat theater, that touches upon the COVID-19 disaster.

The arts are coming to life in different methods, too. The Metropolitan Opera will resume common performances on the finish of this month.

But Broadway stays central to the town’s id. And maybe the surest signal of its resiliency is the actual fact professionals are wanting properly past the present season, and planning exhibits for the years forward. Barry Weissler, the veteran producer behind “Chicago” and “Waitress,” has quite a few exhibits within the planning phases, together with one based mostly on the 2002 movie “Real Women Have Curves.”

Weissler says it hardly appears like Broadway has missed a beat, regardless of the lengthy shutdown. “You can feel the surge,” he stated.

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