They say anything can happen on stage - that's one of the thrills of watching a performance unfold live, right in front of you. Well, I decided to add some seat-selection drama to the mix.
I just bought a ticket for the Sunday matinee of How Shakespeare Won the West, at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston. Usually, I go online and get the best available seat in the center orchestra. (I like to be as close as possible). But when the best available seat came up in Row A for $77.50, I did pause.
Yeah, I could afford it, and I've spent that much on a couple of shows at the Huntington. Plus, I routinely pay over $100 apiece for Broadway tickets. But I don't go to New York very often and my traveling dates aren't very flexible. When I do go, I know the shows I want to see and I don't want to take any chances on a lottery or just drop by the TKTS booth to see what's available at a reduced price. It's my vacation, you know?
(Not that I'm adverse to getting a discount ticket for a Broadway show, of course, especially as my New York trips become more than a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I did buy a reduced-price ticket once through Playbill. It was for Passing Strange, which, sadly, could have used the full price. I got a great seat for about $60 in the Belasco Theatre's intimate orchestra section.)
But when I see a show in Providence or Boston and my dates are more flexible, I do like to hunt around for a discount. For shows at Trinity Repertory Company, I routinely get the $15 rush ticket, available at the box office a couple hours before the show. It's a great deal - Trinity's two theatres are both pretty small, so you get a good seat no matter where you sit.
And something about that $77.50 just rankled me. I'd noticed a link for BosTix on Hub Arts, a Boston-based arts and culture blog. I decided what the heck, I'll try it. I always thought that you could only buy same-day, half-price tickets and you actually had to go to a BosTix booth to get them. But it turns out that for some shows, you can go online and buy tickets in advance.
So I registered and got a ticket for How Shakespeare Won the West for $32.50 - less than half price! The rub is, I have no idea where I'll be sitting. I guess I have to print out the ticket confirmation e-mail and bring it with me to the theatre.
My ticket is supposed to be "best available." So if there's one seat left in the orchestra section, do I get it? (And really, isn't there always that one seat left?) Or will I be relegated to the "best available" in the mezzanine or balcony? I don't know. It adds a little bit of drama to the drama of the play. I'll report back after the show. The Huntington isn't an especially huge place and I figure my seat can't be that bad.
Not every performance of every show is available at BosTix. I could only find one performance on sale for Follies at Boston's Lyric Stage Company, and it wasn't on a day when I could go. I may have to pay full price for that one.
But I'll keep looking around. I know Theatermania and Goldstar have discount theatre tickets for Boston shows. I haven't used either one of them yet, so I'm not exactly sure how they work. Along with BosTix, they may be a good alternatives to simply logging in online and saying, give me the most expensive ticket you have.
So, I may regret my decision come Sunday, but for today, I feel like a savvy theatre shopper.