Can Someone Please Explain to Me…

Sweeney_Toddwhy if you want to see Sweeney Todd, or any Playground performance, you can’t buy tickets in advance? Oh wait, you CAN buy tickets in advance online but you have to pay a $2.50 convenience fee per ticket. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to skip the fee and just sell tickets in advance at the door?

I really just don’t get why every other theater in town can sell tickets in advance but the Playground insists on using this odd system.

So, really, can anyone explain this to me? Because I don’t get it.

21 Comments

Nate

about 13 years ago

I agree that it stinks. However, every night that the show has been open, they've had to add chairs to get everyone in, and last night, they added to the absolute maximum, and still had to turn people away. So if you *really* wanna go, which you should, hehe... than you either have to bite the bullet or show up very early.

And for the record, I do agree with you. They should call it a $2.50 INconvenience fee. Baha. I mean, seriously. Who is doing all this work on the internet tickets that they have to be paid $2.50 PER TICKET?

ironic1

about 13 years ago

Still doesn't answer my question.  If I had gone to New Brain last night and found out they were sold out I could have bought a ticket for some other night of the run right there from a real person.

If I want to buy a ticket in advance from the Playhouse I can call up and order right over the phone, no additional fee.

So why does the Playground have this at the door or a $2.50 fee system?

@ndy

about 13 years ago

My guess would be that in order to sell tickets in advance, regardless of whether it is at the door or online, someone has to get paid to do so.

Nate

about 13 years ago

I wasn't trying to answer your question. I agree with you. I'm a bit frustrated myself, as I have no idea whether or not my brother, who is driving up from the cities to see this, will be able to get in at all.

jest me

about 13 years ago

As to your question, from what I can tell they are using some kind of free (to them) website to sell the tickets, so I guess we are all paying the cost. Honestly, though?? A guaranteed ticket to see *this* Sweeney is worth the extra 2.50 in "fees".  There's a very good reason that the performances are sold out.

me

about 13 years ago

This "convenience" fee is why I haven't gone to see anything at the Playground.  First, I have to drive downtown, find a place to park and hope they aren't actually sold out.  OR, I can pay the online fee.  I know that when you buy your tickets through other places like tickemaster, you have fees attached, but that isn't how other local theater works.  When I went to see The Full Monty at the Playhouse, I just gave them my CC over the phone and I had tickets, no extra hidden costs.  Plus, the online system told me the fee was $1 but when it came to the end, it was $2.50 for Sweeney Todd.  If it weren't my kid's favorite musical and starring several of my friends, I wouldn't be going at all.  THere.  I am done venting.

Rubber Chicken

about 13 years ago

Come to Rubber Chicken shows!  We have quite a few coming up this fall.  No convenience fees, talk to a real person (or a real person will call you back right away) and your name will be on a list, tickets waiting at the door.

jest me

about 13 years ago

You know, guys, it's not like this is Ticketmaster or some unchangeable huge corporation you're talking about.  If you have a problem with the fees, why not contact the Playground (as paying customers) and see what can be done? I'll say it again...this Sweeney production is worth it.

enealio

about 13 years ago

As a box office guru, (my master's thesis was about online ticketing) I can tell why these fees appear. The ticketing system charges you for it.  The playground is using TicketLeap to sell their online tickets.  I've used that company before (and I hated every minute of it).  TL works by charging a fee for tickets sold online plus collects the fees that credit cards charge.  So if you spend $15 on an online ticket, all $15 goes to the Playground.  That additional fee you are paying is actually going to TL. When the Playground sells a ticket themselves either in person or on the phone, TL probably waives that fee. The Playground could eat the fees, but then they're only getting $12.50 of that ticket.  It may not seem like much, but considering this venue caters to independent producers, this would be less money for these artists to make.

Also, this system allows theatres to provide the convenience of an online ticketing system without having to buy into a contract with a larger company such as TicketMaster (EVIL!). 

At Pillsbury House Theatre (where I work, http://www.pillsburyhousetheatre.org if you're interested) we use a system called OvationTix, which after a lot of research and trials is the best option hands down that I've found for small-mid theatres. Instead of an annual fee, this system charges us a per ticket fee and also does all of our credit card processing for it.  Additionally, there is an additional fee they charge for online transactions.  We do add a fee to our advance tickets online but we cap it at $1.50 (less than what OT charges us). But in return for these fees we get charged, we get an amazing ticketing system comparable to many of the larger and more expensive systems. Another option would be to just raise the ticket price and say there is no fee but then people complain about ticket prices going up so it's a tricky balance.  

What I don't get is why the Playground and the Playhouse use two different ticketing systems. (TicketLeap vs. Boxpro).

enealio

about 13 years ago

I should also mention that TicketLeap is free for theatres to use. The costs are passed on to the consumer.  A larger proprietary system either has to be purchased and hosted on-site (a nightmare if you can't afford the IT support and maintenance) or you pay a yearly fee (plus ticket fees in some cases) for it to be hosted and maintained and supported offsite. These also usually require a contract where as TicketLeap is show by show basis.

ironic1

about 13 years ago

Okay, but people STILL haven't explained why I can't walk up to the box office and buy a ticket in advance.  That's ALL I'm asking.  

I'm not saying paying a service fee is evil for the convenience of buying online.

I just want to know why you can't buy advanced tickets at the Playground like you can for EVERY OTHER theater in town.  Heck, even cinemas allow you to buy in advance now.

Rubber Chicken

about 13 years ago

I think the answer is obvious.  They don't HAVE a box office you can walk up to and do that.  If you mean, why weren't you allowed to do that last night, in person, that's probably because they were up to their eyeballs in other things.  

I don't think you can walk into a cinema and reserve a ticket for a future showing, can you?

If you mean, why can't you do it online, you can.  There's just the fee to deal with.  

Except at Rubber Chicken!

Rubber Chicken

about 13 years ago

Now, I don't know why you couldn't call the Playhouse and reserve them in advance.  That's a question Christine could answer.  Since The Play Ground is supposed to be affiliated with the Playhouse, you definitely SHOULD be able to do that.

enealio

about 13 years ago

sorry, i thought the question was about the fees.

i agree with brian. the online system probably takes the place of having a physical box office which requires a paid staff.

ironic1

about 13 years ago

Actually, Brian, yes, you can buy in advance at cinemas, at least the local Marcus cinemas.  I'm not sure how far, but I've bought tickets there for 2 days in advance.

And as far as last night, I did ask, very nicely at the ticket booth/table if I could buy for sometime next week and I was told one could only buy advance tickets online.

enealio

about 13 years ago

does the playhouse have someone that mans the phones and does reservations for playhouse shows or it just someone in the office?  if it's the latter, that would be tough to have your day interrupted constantly by ticket sale phone calls. if it's the former, they would have to learn two different ticketing systems (boxpro and ticketleap) but then again, no reason PG shows couldn't use the same ticketing system as PH except that they would have to install a computer with the ticketing system at the playground too which could be prohibitive if they host the software themselves.  which is probably why they use ticketleap for PG shows.  that's probably also the same reason they don't sell advance tickets at the PG shows. ticketleap handles the reservations and they would need a computer there at the PG to process that.  could they just jot down your name and enter it later? yes, but i'm sure there are issues with that as well (accounting, using credit cards, making sure it gets entered the next day, etc)

it all comes down to ease and cost for the playground/playhouse staff.

i personally don't have a problem with ticket fees if they are reasonable. ticketmaster is not reasonable.  $2.50 on a $15 ticket is also starting to cross that line.  (we adjust our fees based on price. $1.50 for a $20 ticket, 1.25 for a $15, and $1 for a $10 ticket.)

and yes, i do enjoy discussing ticketing WAY TOO MUCH.

Rubber Chicken

about 13 years ago

Yeah, that does seems like a goofy system to me, Lawrence.  But like Neal said, it probably comes down to ease and cost for the Playhouse staff.

ironic1

about 13 years ago

Pfffft.  I decide to go ahead and purchase tickets online and I get all the way through the procedure.  Press agree to purchase.  And then it tells me an error.

Brilliant.

Rubber Chicken

about 13 years ago

See?  They're probably redesigning it right now down at the Playhouse, as per our suggestions!

huitz

about 13 years ago

I'm with ironic1 on this.  There really shouldn't be a reason why you can't show up and personally buy a ticket in advance.

Some people also play weird games with ticketing, like whether or not you should be allowed to get a ticket on ebay, illegal tickets, blah blah.

Venue with Ticket with Performer datatabases are a hobby of mine, so I'm willing to go head to head on business practices in this arena with enealio.  Bring it on! ;)  The 1$ plus 25c per extra 5 over 10 is pretty cool.  I would do the same thing.

BTW, IT personnel are about a dime a dozen now a days.  Most of them are fluff (please don't get mad at me Best Buy and Charter people, but I have had many muffled curse words on your behalf).

purple

about 13 years ago

I'm under the perception that the Playground has not had a specific manager for a couple years. Hence, box office confusion.

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