A couple of days ago the New York Times was alerted by a member of the theater industry of a small fee added to tickets at the TKTS discount booths in New York. For those who do not know, these half price wicked tickets to productions by Broadway League productions like “Phantom of the Opera” and “Chicago the Musical”.
The fee was a dollar to tickets that producers had released to be sold for half of the printed ticket price. The dollar fee is funneled into theater programs that promote the industry and educate the public.
The potential conflict is that these same producers were among the theater professionals opposing a tax levied by the state proposed by Gov. David Paterson. That tax would add between $5 and $10 depending on the price of the ticket. Those funds would not go to programs designed to help maintain the industry, an industry that is pivotal to tourism in the Big Apple.
While some people may feel duped and resent having to pay a little extra on half price tickets to see shows like “Jersey Boys,” I feel that many more would be far more anguish at having to endure another decade like the 1990s when big musical theater suffered after the Michael Bay of Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Weber cheapened the theater and drove millions of potential fans away.
Here we recognize the long road back to acceptance, partially spurred by Wicked the Musical, and feel it necessary to shine light on the fact that we are talking about a single dollar versus $5 or $10. There is a huge difference in the numbers. Even in these difficult times a dollar is much more expendable than a ten dollar bill.
If the concept of a fee or tax is simply too much for some people they must be alerted to the fact that most big musical productions lose money. The bigger a show is the bigger the risk.
A truly tiny fee will not derail your budget if you are going to these shows and that money goes back into programs that will help keep the industry profitable now (promotions) and in the future (education).
The reason this fee was not advertised is very simple. The league was fighting a much greater tax, a tax that could further hurt an industry being strangled by the recession. That position would be completely compromised by a few simple sound bites if they advertised an increase of their own. The word increase would resonate much more than the actual monetary value of the fee check here
So when evaluated this fee look at the value it adds. It is will help the industry stay alive now and in the future…and it is only a dollar.