The 12-Day Broadway Week that Few Got to See



The theater district. Photo: AP: Frank Franklin II

By no fault of your own, you probably missed the exciting new Broadway Week two-for-one ticket offer that took place Sept. 18 to 30.  The initiative, spearheaded by NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing and tourism organization, was launched to help provide more affordable theater tickets for New Yorkers and tourists alike.  But many theatergoers said they hadn’t heard of the event.  Even worse, the small number of New Yorkers who were aware, and waited, found out that they were too late.

A tourist from Australia named Rosina, who asked that her last name not be used, walked away empty-handed from the box office for “The Lion King”. She and her husband and two children had rushed to the theater after seeing an ad for the promotion on Taxi TV.  She looked sadly at her children and said, “It’s too expensive to go,”

A NYC &Company spokesman said that the event has been a huge success; seniors were offered the deal first and many jumped at the opportunity, and some theaters are adding even more discounted prices to fill demand.  The twelve-day event is the second of its kind this year, and NYC & Company sees it as a possible tradition.

“Broadway represents the highest level of theater in the world, attracting millions of visitors and New Yorkers each year,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. “There is no better time to take advantage of this two-for-one Broadway savings opportunity and experience the excitement of a Broadway production.”

Unfortunately, box offices for popular shows like “The Lion King” and “Billy Elliot” sold out the majority of their two-for-one tickets almost a month before the event began.   At the “Billy Elliot” box office, few theatergoers had ever heard of the Broadway Week initiative, let alone taken advantage of it.  Janet Hoolin, a middle-aged woman from Long Island, was stunned to find out that she could have paid half for her ticket.  “I didn’t know anything about it.  Too bad we already bought ours. I had no clue.”

One box-office employee at “The Lion King” spent a lot of time disappointing people who wanted a two-for-one ticket.  “We are done with that already,” he explained.  “It sold out three days after the promotion began so I would say it was sold out about a month ago.  It’s confusing, cause you still hear the advertisements on the radio but we are sold out on all shows so it’s different here.”

At “The Addams Family,” though, where a $127 ticket went for $68 after handling charges, the initiative worked well.  Box-office staffer Fred Santor had a completely different message from many of the other theaters.  “Most definitely people are taking advantage of it.  It’s been absolutely huge.”

NYC & Company was so pleased with Broadway Week that the group worked with Off-Broadway theater producers around New York to create an Off-Broadway Week.   The event, which is currently underway, offers two-for-one tickets and ends on Oct.9.