Broadway Grosses w/e 6/17/2018: What happens the week after The Tonys.

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending June 17, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Broadway Grosses w/e 6/10/2018: A Pre-Tonys Pick-Me-Up

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending June 10, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Broadway’s First Best Price Guarantee . . . at Once On This Island

It broke my heart.

About two years ago, I was talking to someone on the subway with a Playbill in their hand (as I’m wont to do), and after my first few focus-group-like openers (“What did you see?” “Why did you choose this?”), I got to my big query . . .

“How did you get your tickets?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” my new-found friend said, “Whenever my wife tells me she wants to see a show, I just go to INSERT NAME OF DISCOUNT TICKET WEBSITE because I know they have the best deals.  I have it bookmarked in my browser.”

Crack goes my heart in two.


Well, first, the proliferation of discounts that started in the 90s trained this traditional ticket buyer to only seek out a discount . . . even when he knew what show he wanted to see and even when he would probably have paid more.  (I met his wife – and believe me, when she wanted to see a show, they were going to see that show, regardless of how much it cost.)  But he now knew a trick and was going to save a few bucks if he could.  Who wouldn’t?  I would . . . and I do . . who hasn’t Googled “Avis Coupon” or “Staples Coupon?”

Second, and this is the big one, he didn’t trust us.

This buyer didn’t trust the official source of ticket information, the show’s website, which means he didn’t trust the show itself to look out for him and give him the best price.

And is that how we really want our customers to feel?  Do we really want them hunting somewhere else for a different price, somewhere they might get distracted by a competing show?  Do we really want our ticket buyers to think we’re too greedy to give them the best price on the market?

How do YOU feel about a brand when you find out you could have paid less for that same thing on some “deal” site?

For years, nope, decades, we’ve separated our full price and discount buyers into two groups . . . and we’ve been so afraid to let a full price buyer know we’ve reduced a price, that we’ve trained buyers like my subway buddy to not even consider full price . . . unless it was a show with a lot of heat.  And even then . . . go ahead, start to Google “Hamilton dis . . .” and see how quickly Google fills in “Hamilton Discount Code.”  Buyers can’t get one, of course, but they are trying.  (And when you do Google “Hamilton Discount Tickets,” you’ll end up on a secondary market site, which will charge you even more than face value, which doesn’t even end up in the investors’ and artists’ pockets.)

And I believe it’s time to do something about it.  We must gain the trust of our customers back.

How?  Well, I’ve decided to do what I do often . . . borrow something that has been working in another industry when they faced a similar problem.

Hotels were in the same spot we are.  And they got tired of paying commission to the Expedias and Pricelines (and tired of watching their customers shop their competitors in those same sites!) so they made a simple promise to the people who went to their website.

They started offering a best price guarantee.

So why not us?

Yep, that’s right.  Once On This Island is offering Broadway’s first Best Price Guarantee.

What does that mean?


When you purchase your tickets to Once On This Island . . . you can rest assured . . . no, you can guarantee, that at that moment, nowhere else . . . anywhere else . . . is there a ticket being offered for that same performance at a lower price.

When you visit the website and click through to Telecharge to purchase your ticket and you see that final price . . . that’s it.  What you see is what you will pay, no matter what other site you visit.

That means . . .

  • If we do a direct mail?  That same price will be available for anyone visiting the website.  (And by the way, we just did a Direct Mail, just like 90% of all new shows in the market, and I just authorized that Best Price to be available now to everyone on the web.  Go, check it out.)
  • If we do an email blast through a partner website?  That same price will be available through our site.
  • And yeah, if we are ever at TKTS?  You could just go to the box office and get the same rate.

And we guarantee it.  Find something out there for less on an official promotional partner’s site (dudes on Craigslist trying to get rid of a ticket because their girlfriend dumped them don’t count) and show it to us . . . and we’ll give you that price PLUS 10%.

It’s not a Best Price Guarantee.  It’s a 110% Best Price Guarantee.

Some Producers are probably saying, “But Ken, by not hiding your ‘exclusive promotional prices,’ aren’t you giving some customers who would pay more an opportunity to pay less?”

Well, I guess, but first, as my guy above TOLD ME, many are going to do that anyway.

Second, slowly but surely, by letting them know we’ve got their best interests at heart, we’re going to get them to trust us again (is hiding anything from people you want to like you ever a good thing?).  And in today’s customer-centric society, trust is crucial for our show . . . and for Broadway.

And lastly . . . and pay attention here because this is a bit mind-melting . . .

Let’s talk about that direct mail that we’re doing.  It’s Standard Operating Procedure for the majority of new shows. Sending those folded pieces of paper to 200,000 people costs me roughly $140k.  That’s right, I’m spending $140,000 to get people to purchase at a “promotional price that is less than full price.”

So . . . if I’m spending $140,000 to get people to pay a discounted price . . . why wouldn’t I let people buy that same price for free???


I will end up netting more per ticket on the seats that I JUST put up under the Best Price Guarantee at the Direct Mail rate than the tickets purchased by people who buy off the “secret code” that went along with our mailer.

And, in theory, selling off those tickets first and faster will allow me a greater chance at increasing prices when we get closer to performance time (that’s right, folks, don’t wait . .  get the best price now, just like airlinesthere is a much greater chance they will go up closer to curtain than down using this strategy).

With a Best Price Guarantee, everybody is happy . . .

The customer wins because they know that when they buy a ticket through us, there is nowhere else to get a better rate.

The show wins because we will spend less on marketing, fill our seats faster, and be able to price up as a result.

And that’s the best type of marketing there is . . .  because both sides benefit.

So let this be the day, that discounting officially died.  And pricing was born.

With a Best Price Guarantee.*

And I hope you use it.


*For a full description of the Guarantee including what to do if you think you’ve found a rate better than we’re offering, click here.  Or better, just email me because there’s no way we authorized it, and I’m gonna stomp somebody.






Three reasons why theater tickets are NOT expensive.

There’s a rule in consumer research that’s especially true for Broadway . . . when asking your research subjects why they haven’t purchased something, don’t ever give them “too expensive” as an option for them to choose . . . because they will always say things are too pricey and you can never get an accurate read on what they really felt (because the truth is they are not saying it’s too expensive, they are saying there is not enough value in the product).

And when you’re dealing with theater tickets, people 101% always say they are too expensive . . . because they are, dangit.

But wait, that’s actually not always true.  There are cheap ways to see Broadway shows and Off Broadway shows.  And now, thanks to the post-Labor Day Blues, the Back to Schools, and the upcoming Jewish holidays, is the perfect time for anyone on a budget to see a show (or for those who want to binge watch a bunch of shows for the price of one).

Here are three ways theater tickets are cheap right now.

1.  Broadway Week

NYC & Co, the official organization for New York tourism, is currently sponsoring Broadway Week, which allows you to snag 2-for-1 tickets on a ton of shows.  But hurry, a lot of the shows’ allocations for these cheepee tickets are already gone, and the promotion only lasts through September 20th.  Click here to see a list of the shows and how to order the tickets (and yep, Spring Awakening has just a few tickets left).

2.  20at20

One of the most aggressive and exciting promotions on the market starts this coming Monday and runs through October 4th only.  20at20 was started, oh, about eight years ago now by a group formerly known as the Off Broadway Brainstormers who were dedicated to shining a spotlight on Broadway shows for the local NYC market (yep, I was one of the original members of that group and one of the first organizers of 20at20).  The idea behind the promotion is simple.  20 minutes before the start of a show, a bunch of tickets are sold for $20.  That’s right, only $20!  And this year, over 40 shows are participating!  Click here to see them all, and then start making a list of all the shows you want to see (you could literally see seven Off Broadway shows for the price of one Broadway show!).  I’d suggest putting Daddy Long Legs and That Bachelorette Show on that list.  But hey, that’s just me.  🙂

3.  Off Broadway Week

Broadway Week’s little brother starts on September 21st and runs through October 4th, and features the same 2-for-1 special.  Why use this promotion instead of 20at20?  The locations are a little better, and it doesn’t require you waiting in line and there’s no risk of you not getting in to see a show.  So if you want a little more security in your show shopping, check out Off Broadway Week.

And wait, here’s a bonus!

4.  A Tip about the TKTS Booth

I know, you know all about the TKTS booth, but what you may not know is that this is the time of year when almost every single show in Times Square is on the boards.  This week alone, I saw all of the new shows from last season on the boards including An American in Paris, Something Rotten!, Curious Incident, and even the Best Musical Tony Award-winning Fun Home.  And not only are there a plethora of new shows to choose from, but because the tourists have all flown south and east and west for the winter, there are no lines most of the day.  Lots of shows, no waiting.  September is the best time of year to TKTS shop.  Click here to see real time listings of what shows are available without leaving your house!

It’s easy to use the excuse that theater tickets are too expensive and that’s why you don’t go.  But this time of year, that excuse doesn’t hold H20.  It just doesn’t.  So get out there and see a show.  Not only will you save a ton of money, but you’ll also be helping to support the Broadway and Off Broadway community at a time when it really needs it.

If you’ve got other tips on how to save money on seeing shows, chuck ’em in the comments below.  And enjoy seeing tons of shows this September!

(By the way, a great way to save money months in advance is to buy group tickets to see shows with your school, church or just a bunch of friends.  Click here to learn more more.)


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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StubHub’s stockings are filled with tickets.

Stubhub Stockings Broadway TicketsI’ve never purchased tickets through StubHub.  But I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately (it was their advertising campaign that wormed its way into my brain – like a good advertising campaign should).

So today I decided to click on over to the site to see just what the heck was being hocked.

And would you look at that!  One of the shows they were selling (oh wait, sorry, StubHub’s attorneys would be quick to point out that StubHub doesn’t sell anything, it just connects people . . . you know, like Napster and LimeWire did before they were shut down for causing financial havoc to an industry) . . .  one of the shows they were “connecting” was mine!  Kinky Boots!

I was interested in seeing what people were paying for seats on this “connector” site, so I clicked on December 27th and . . .

What . . .

What the . . .

What the @$#%?

I know what you’re thinking . . . that I’m stutter-swearing because of the price of the tickets.  But noooooo.  I’m st-st-stutter-cussing because StubHub is currently listing 523 tickets for sale for that performance.


We’ve got 1424 seats at The Hirschfeld.  That means 37% of the capacity for that one performance is on a secondary sales site.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I checked the availability of tickets for other shows on the same performance day (12/27).

Lion King has 508 tickets available.

Wicked has 338 tickets available.

Book of Mormon has 159 tickets (much smaller theater).

How is it that such a huge percentage of tickets are being sold on a secondary site?

Well, it may be because some of the tickets up there are dups . . . as Brokers sometimes put up seats (without specifying the exact locations) they don’t actually have yet but they know they can get from another source.  And then another broker puts up those same/similar seats because they know they can get them from the same source.

So there may be some dups.

But ok, let’s say that HALF of them are dups.  In the Kinky example, that would still be 18.5% of the house.  Or even a quarter of them would still be almost 10% of the house on one performance!

And even if there are dups . . . should there really be that many people trying to sell these seats away from the primary site?  And many of them DO actually have exact ticket locations on the site . . . shouldn’t we try and at least spot check some of these to see how they were acquired?  To see who is selling them?  To make sure the industry/artists/investors aren’t losing revenue that it should be receiving?

It’s a sticky wicket, because we do live in a free market society.  And if I buy something I don’t need anymore, or don’t want anymore, or just want to try and make a few bucks on, I should be able to sell it to someone who does need it/want it/or who wants to try and make a few bucks on it himself (that’s what the real estate market and any market is all about).

But something seems to have gone a little awry considering the amount of Broadway tickets that are available (even if many are just virtually available).

But what can be done?

Well, when Ticketmaster saw the incredible profit potential in the secondary market, it went out and bought TicketsNow . . . and now they have their own secondary market.

Think Telecharge will ever do the same?  Should they?  Should they not?  Let me hear ya . . .


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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