Discounts made simple at CTG


ATTENTION, theater ticket shoppers.

Center Theatre Group is launching a new discount ticket program, Hot Tix, at its three stages -- the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum in downtown L.A. and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Beginning with the new season in September, Hot Tix will replace three previous CTG programs: Public Rush, Pay What You Can and Senior Rush.

“The programs had different rules that took too long to explain,” says Jim Royce, CTG’s marketing director. “It was confusing to the customer.”

The main advantage of Hot Tix is convenience. Discounted tickets can be bought over the phone with credit cards, beginning on the first day of single-ticket sales, as well as in person at the box office. The previous programs required cash purchases at the box office on the day of a performance.


Additionally, the number of tickets available has been increased 24% over the number available under the previous programs -- to a minimum of 3% of a venue’s capacity for all productions. Hot Tix will also include seats in a wider range of locations.

The bad news is that at $20, Hot Tix will be pricier than tickets from two of the previous programs. Public Rush tickets cost $12, and Pay What You Can tickets could go as low as $1 (Senior Rush tickets were half-price).

Those who can’t afford $20 tickets, Royce says, will still be able to join the standby line at press preview and opening night performances, when tickets held for guests who don’t show up are given away. Another option is CTG’s Operation Discovery, which offers tickets for $15 for musicals and $5 for plays through participating social service agencies that often give the seats to their clients.

In an effort to fend off commercial brokers, no more than two Hot Tix will be sold per transaction. CTG will continue to offer half-price tickets through two outside programs, Goldstar Events and LAStageTIX, but those prices won’t drop below the $20 Hot Tix price.

CTG’s new artistic director, Michael Ritchie, alerted Royce to a British model for the Hot Tix program, the Travelex £10 Season at London’s National Theatre. Like that program, Hot Tix will be supported by a major corporate sponsor that will be announced later, Royce says.

-- Don Shirley