The only upside to today’s Super Premium Broadway ticket prices.

Warning:  If you hate how much Broadway tickets cost, you are going to hate this post.

In fact, I kind of hate it myself.

See, it all started with Hamilton.

Because of the spectacular demand for tickets, prices skyrocketed on the secondary market.  And, in a duel with the brokers that A. Ham himself would have been proud of, the Producers of Hamilton raised their prices, in an effort to let the money that the public was willing to spend, go to the artists and investors in the show itself.

And the $500 ticket was born.

Then comes Dear Evan Hansen, another big hit in a small theater, which was also able to raise their premium prices up to $499.

And just a couple of weeks ago, the NY Times broke a story about Hello, Dolly! charging $998 per ticket for front row seats.

Whew.  Pretty insane, right?

Well, there is an upside to all this . . . ready for it?

The $150, full price ticket, now looks cheap.

It used to be that a $150 ticket looked super expensive, and we discounted the eff out of it.  Now?  Well, maybe, just maybe, a consumer who has paid $500 to see some of the other big hits, and has done so without blinking an eye, won’t balk at paying “regular full price” for a show that hasn’t yet hit mega-hit status.

It’s simple contrast pricing . . . whenever anything is presented to a consumer at a super high price, whatever price comes next looks like a bargain, even if it’s still a high price . . . just as long as it’s less than the first price!

For example:

A Mercedes costs $50k.

Now consider it this way:

A Ferrari costs $100k.  A Mercedes costs $50k.

All of a sudden, that Mercedes doesn’t look so expensive!

This unintentional phenomenon might just be what the shows in the middle of the market need to increase their chances at recoupment.

Because now, hate it or not, $150 looks like a deal-and-a-half.


  • Deena McClusky says:

    While your point is valid from a comparison standpoint I am still NEVER going to pay $500 to $1000 for a single ticket for anything. I will be seeing Hamilton next May when the touring production comes to our local theater and my seat cost $50. If you want the good seats to your shows going only to the mega rich that don’t care about the cost, like top shelf sporting events have gone in recent years, then by all means go for it. However, I fear that these super high prices will alienate an entire upcoming generation of potential theater goers from ever getting a chance to develop a love for the theater because it is just not financially possible to do so. This raises the very real possibility of serious audience erosion in the not that distant future.

  • Linda says:

    You gave me my laugh of the day. Sort of like saying “Thank goodness it is only cholera and not AIDS” I will never buy tickets to those shows and say ” Let Bette Midler choke on the tickets”

  • Elizabeth says:

    Coming from someone who is out of college, at a great job that pays pretty well, living in NYC, NO. Just No.

    I LOVE theater and can’t get enough of it, but like it or not my generation cannot and will not pay that kind of money for ONE ticket to ONE show. As Deena mentioned in their comment, by increasing the prices, producers are alienating an entire generation that does NOT have that kind of money to burn! I thought I was hot sh*t when I spent over $100 on a ticket when I first moved here 4.5 years ago. Now I’m frantically trying to find a discount for everything and still finding out the shows are out of my price range.
    I’m all for the money people are paying for tickets going to the producers, but maybe, just maybe, everyone in the industry should be researching ways to stop the scalping (still can’t believe Ticketmaster is allowing resales, which was the start to all this). I realize there are actions being taken to fight the bots, but it’s not enough, and the audience is suffering for it. I was completely disheartened to see the prices for Hamilton be so high, and then to have Dear Evan Hansen and Hello, Dolly! follow suit?! I was disgusted and I’m so disappointed to see you, someone I admire for their helping people and using their voice in the industry, to justify it.

    Looks like I’ll have to stick to rushing and lotto-ing shows from now on since it doesn’t seem to be course correcting anytime soon.

  • Randy says:

    I’m 45 years old. I was a theatre “major” at an arts high school. I got a BFA in theatre. I was a professional actor for 15 years following college…did lots of regional and stock and even a couple of B’way shows. I now teach theatre at an arts high school. I don’t go to Broadway shows. It is simply out of my price range. A $100 ticket is out of my price range. I realize everybody’s financial pain threshold is subjective and varies accordingly, but that’s mine. I’m very sad about it, but I simply can’t afford it. Haven’t been able to for years.

  • Anna says:

    And yet, you’re trying to scam people on tickets to Once on This Island by promising to honor lower ticket prices through your “Price Guarantee” and then refusing to actually do so. I found a ticket $50 cheaper than what’s advertised on your website, and was told that you wouldn’t honor the guarantee and the 10% discount because the theater was selling other, worse seats at that price in other locations in the theater. So basically, you are, in your own way, contributing to people feeling ripped off and cheated on their tickets.

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