The creation of my top 10 list of upcoming fall theatrical attractions for last Sunday's A+E section meant some quality time wrestling with ticket prices. And comparing my list with that of the previous year, I could see an interesting snapshot of where prices have gone up, and by how much.
What used to be as simple business of telling readers a range of prices, from cheapest to most expensive, has become trickier in this era of demand-based pricing, social media discounting and premium tickets. In their published prices, some theaters include discounts; some don't. Sometimes previews are cheaper, sometimes not. Often, producers don't like to say their top prices, preferring to announce them as "tickets begin at," which doesn't work for us (or you).
In some cases, we also struggled mightily to find the lowest ticket price a producer was claiming. Exhibit A was "The Book of Mormon." The lowest price ticket was quoted as $45, but that price was tough to see on
There were some other interesting observables. Last fall, a top ticket to "Follies" at
One takeaway: There now is an even better argument for seeing more shows from cheaper seats.
Writers' Theatre in Glencoe is varying its ticket prices based not on where you sit, but on what day you go and how many tickets have already been sold. So you can see "Hamlet" for as little as $35 or as much as $70, from pretty much the same seat. Last year, tickets to "The Real Thing" started at $55. Weeknights are looking good for the moody Dane.
There is, though, one matter of further note in the wacky world of snagging an affordable ticket. This fall,
If you are in your 20s (as some of us wish), you can buy six tickets for $100. Those uber-flexible tickets can be used in any combination (six singles, three pairs, etc.) for any performance. Plenty of theaters have long had day-of-performance deals for young folks, but this new scheme is notable for many things: the ability to buy in advance, the lack of blackout nights, the remarkable level of flexibility and, above all, its amazing cheapness.
Let me do the math for you: $16.66 is a whole lot less than $48-$70. And you can skip a lousy show and take all your pals to the hit. You can even hang on to the card for the next season.
The Goodman says it has a similar plan in the works and already offers a break on subscription prices, but for now Steppenwolf has, by my estimation, by far the best deal of any theater in town. Until you hit age 30, anyway.