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Do the Bullets producers not want money? (Rush Story)

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LiveLoud22
Chorus Member
joined:1/18/11
I decided to see Bullets again last week. I'm not sure if this ineptitude was at the order of the producers, or a decision by the box office staff, but as an individual interested in the financial side of theater, I thought it would be interesting to share.

I went to the box office about 3 hours or so before the show, and asked if they had any rush tickets left - the gentleman at the box office window said no. I'm sure that the plethora of people who came in after me (it was a busy summer day, and people were streaming in and out of the box office) looking for rush seats were turned away as well - all of whom left and went off to rush different shows. Through an unofficial channel, I ended up snagging an even cheaper ticket than the rush one I had been looking for. When I got to the show that night, I was dumbfounded.

I know that they have designated the front row of the orchestra as rush seats, but those WEREN'T ACTUALLY SOLD OUT! I was blown away. Either they outright lied, or people who had bought those seats just decided to light their tickets on fire. In addition, the vast majority of the Mezz was still empty, even after they moved the folks from the balcony down a level. Even though I ended up snagging a heavily discounted seat, I couldn't help thinking about the significant revenue they had flushed down the toilet from the dozens and dozens of rush-seeking folks that had been turned away at the box office. Many other shows (especially in the hours right before the show starts) will designate remaining Mezz seats as rush seats, just to maximize their revenue for the night.

At first I wondered if they had closed certain sections of the Mezz as well, but given the smattering of people spread out throughout the different sections, it was clear that wasn't the case. Do the Bullets producers think that telling people there aren't any remaining rush seats will prompt them to buy full price tickets? Do they think that the tourists at TKTS are clamoring to see this show? If I were a producer of Bullets (or any show that's limping along at the box office) I'd never let this crap fly. Not only would I make sure that the designated rush seats were actually sold out before I started turning people away, I'd also offer rush-seeking patrons one of the hundreds of seats that went empty that night. Anyone with any financial or producing acumen will tell you that, given the choice between making *some* money for a seat (and getting people in to generate word of mouth) is far more preferable to making no money for a seat that goes empty.

I get that some shows will sell off remaining seats at rush prices, and some won't. Irrespective of that argument, the one thing that I think is absolutely inexcusable is that THEY HADN'T SOLD ALL OF THE REGULARLY DESIGNATED RUSH SEATS AND THEY WERE TELLING PEOPLE THEY WERE SOLD OUT! Talk about flushing money down the toilet.




Updated On: 7/8/14 at 11:54 AM
neonlightsxo
Broadway Star
joined:7/29/08
This happens all the time. I agree with you that it makes sense to sell off remaining seats at rush prices, but many shows don't do that. They allocate a small number of seats as rush and once those are gone, that's it. They leave them empty if they don't go at the higher price.
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frogs_fan85
Broadway Legend
joined:12/3/05
It's a double edged sword. If your rush policy is "everything that's left" gets sold as rush it is somewhat disincentivizing and people won't buy regular priced tickets or even tickets with a discount code if they know they can just get a rush ticket easily. However, if you have hundreds of tickets in inventory for that evening's performance, you should be loosening up your allocation just for the sake of having bodies in the theater and potentially creating positive word of mouth. To me that's a producing group that is not constantly monitoring its ticket inventory and figuring out how to best sell tickets on the day of a performance.
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LiveLoud22
Chorus Member
joined:1/18/11
Neonlights, I agree. But the huge issue here (aside from the "should they sell of remaining seats at rush prices?" discussion) is that THE ALLOCATED RUSH SEATS HADN'T ACTUALLY BEEN SOLD OUT.
Updated On: 7/8/14 at 12:17 PM
FishermanBob Profile Photo
FishermanBob
Broadway Legend
joined:7/9/12
So they wouldn't sell you a rush ticket. They had their reasons. Get over it. I'm sure you think you know more about running a show than they do. You don't. Just be happy you were able to sneak in the stage door, uh I mean secure a ticket through your unofficial channel.
LiveLoud22 Profile Photo
LiveLoud22
Chorus Member
joined:1/18/11
Chill out, Fisherman. I know I'm not the aggrieved party here. Heck, if anything, I ended up winning with the discount ticket I snagged. My concern is that Bullets is shooting itself in the foot. I rather enjoy the show (especially Nick Cordero's performance, which is the primary reason I've come back twice) and I want it to run as long as it can. Inane financial/ticketing decisions don't help the show at all, and I thought posting about it here might garner the topic some visibility.





Updated On: 7/8/14 at 12:39 PM
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haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
"THE ALLOCATED RUSH SEATS HADN'T ACTUALLY BEEN SOLD OUT."

You don't know that to be true. You only know that no one was in those seats.
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haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Updated On: 7/8/14 at 12:43 PM
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
This has always been a problem with Broadway. While I do agree that any policy that says all remaining seats will be sold at a discount 1 hour before curtain *might* discourage people from buying ahead of time, I think if there was a standard policy that if there were 100+ seats or so that were still available 1 hour before curtain, they could then be sold at a "rush" price.
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FishermanBob
Broadway Legend
joined:7/9/12
"Chill out, Fisherman. I know I'm not the aggrieved party here."

Don't worry about me, I'm in total chill mode. You're the one who's writing an essay about it and capitalizing sentences as if we wouldn't be able to see it otherwise. Please don't try to convince us you're just concerned about their long term financial health when it's pretty clear from your self-indulgent post that you're just pissed you couldn't score a rush ticket at 5 p.m. for an 8 p.m. show. How dare they not sell YOU a rush ticket at 5 p.m. And I'm sure the "plethora" of people streaming in at 5 p.m. weren't going off to rush other shows because smart rushers don't wait until 5 p.m. to start looking for a rush ticket. And what does "unofficial channel" even mean anyway?

If you really want it to run as long as possible, here's an idea... buy a regular priced ticket.

Updated On: 7/8/14 at 12:57 PM
neonlightsxo
Broadway Star
joined:7/29/08
You don't know the allocated rush seats weren't sold out. Are you positive that the entire first row is rush? And that they weren't sold? Maybe they were sold and people were sitting elsewhere, or maybe only some of the first row is rush.
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FishermanBob
Broadway Legend
joined:7/9/12
"I think if there was a standard policy that if there were 100+ seats or so that were still available 1 hour before curtain, they could then be sold at a "rush" price."

But then that would kill any TKTS sales if that became known. People would just wait until an hour before the show to see if they can get a rush ticket on the cheap especially for a show regularly playing to 75% or less capacity on average. For $37 I'm sure they feel it's just not worth risking their ability to sell any tickets at higher prices.

Updated On: 7/8/14 at 01:06 PM
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frogs_fan85
Broadway Legend
joined:12/3/05
This is also especially true now in the age of SYOS ticketing on Telecharge and Ticketmaster in which a somewhat knowledgeable ticket buyer can do a very quick assessment to see just how much inventory a particular performance has and make a decent guess on if rush tickets (should there be a free for all rush policy) will be available.

The end around on this would be SYOS suppression holds applied to each performance masking the true entirety of the ticket availability. I'm sure that this done to some extent now on Broadway and would end up requiring a lot of online inventory management on the part of the box office to apply and remove those SYOS suppression holds as needed.

Updated On: 7/8/14 at 01:17 PM
haterobics Profile Photo
haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Many people who have rushed this show reported that the stage was very high and they could barely see anything. So, if there are a lot of open seats, it would make sense for a rusher to ask an usher to sit further back.
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macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
^^^^ This is true, and it's just what I was thinking. While I enjoyed the show from the first row, a couple of my fellow rushers found seats elsewhere in the theater.
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Brian07663NJ
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
It is a shame because IF they did just get "butts in seats" for any price then that would be word of mouth advertising that potentially could pull the show out of the slow ticket sales.

I do understand that they don't want to devalue their tickets for people not purchasing because they want to wait for a bargain.

Penny wise, pound foolish because an empty seat makes nothing and potentially zero word of mouth!
Up next: Apr 01 Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Apr 05 Charo at RamsHead OnStage; Apr 07 Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom; Apr 13 Amaluna next to Citi Field; Apr 18 Disney Junior at MSG Theatre; May 06 Aladdin; May 13 Artpop Ball Lady Gaga at MSG; Jun 07 Varekai in Bridgeport, CT Jul 12 1:30pm Side Show; Jul 12 8:30pm Fantasia w/National Symphony Orchestra; Aug 16 The Visit: Williamstown Festival
LiveLoud22 Profile Photo
LiveLoud22
Chorus Member
joined:1/18/11
That's true, I apologize. It's definitely possible that people had purchased those seats and simply moved back. Fisherman, the only thing I meant by "unofficial channel" was that I used a discount site.

I know that if a show made some sort of *official* policy of designating remaining seats as rush an hour before the show, that might have ramifications in terms of deterring full price purchases. But if they could quietly just increase the number of rush seats the closer they got to curtain - why not? Especially for a show like Bullets, which started sending out discount codes and promos months ago. Based on their grosses over the last few weeks, they should worry less about preserving their ability to charge full price for seats, and (EDIT - revised) stop sending potential rushers away to spend their money rushing other shows.


Updated On: 7/8/14 at 01:41 PM
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Another thing: selling another 10 or 20 tickets at rush prices, isn't going to give them income to make a difference in longevity.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
haterobics Profile Photo
haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
A discount site is an official channel.
FishermanBob Profile Photo
FishermanBob
Broadway Legend
joined:7/9/12
"Based on their grosses over the last few weeks, they should worry less about preserving their ability to charge full price for seats, and sell any seat that they can."

The "take anything you can get" mode only works for a poorly selling show that's already announced it's closing and is just trying to sell whatever it can the last week or two. I can't imagine a show that has the desire to continue running ever adapting this approach.
LiveLoud22 Profile Photo
LiveLoud22
Chorus Member
joined:1/18/11
Should revise my statement, Fisherman. Wasn't suggesting a desperate "take everything you can get" type approach - that's the kind of policy that Holler should adopt. Just saying that the producers might want to consider making some sort of adjustment (if they deem it appropriate), so that they aren't sending potential rushers away to spend their money rushing other shows. No, it won't single-handedly secure the show's longevity. But hey, money is money, and if I were a producer I'd want it spent at my show.

=]

Updated On: 7/8/14 at 02:15 PM
dramamama611 Profile Photo
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
If you've invested 1mil, 40 bucks means NOTHING.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
haterobics Profile Photo
haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
I guess I'm confused by the fact that you are questioning their actions of not making rush available, as it is in their financial interest... and your proof point is that a lack of a rush ticket led you a discount site where one assumes you paid more to see the show.

So, based on you (as this whole case is), wouldn't they have made less money if they offered rush?
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darreyl102
Broadway Legend
joined:8/23/08
The OP said that he paid even less then rush price for his ticket.
Darreyl with an L!
madlibrarian
Broadway Star
joined:8/15/06
There have been, in the history of Broadway, rumors that box office personnel have been instructed not to sell tickets to a show, in an attempt to hasten the show's departure. Just rumors.
haterobics Profile Photo
haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
"The OP said that he paid even less then rush price for his ticket."

Oops, sorry, missed that. It wasn't in all caps.

Still, I can't recall ever using a discount that got me a seat on Broadway for less than the $37 Bullets charges for rush. On BroadwayBox, the cheapest discounted ticket is $45.
Updated On: 7/8/14 at 03:34 PM

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