By Dr. Cashmere
If you missed this piece on the money to be made waiting in line for Hair tickets, it's worth a read.
While The Public gets credit for giving out some tickets online this year, its leaders make a couple of dubious statements in defense of the current system.
“If we see people over and over again on line and we don’t see them in the theater we get a little suspicious,” said Sonya LeBrun, the assistant manager. But how would they know, with some 1,800 seats in the theater? When handing tickets over to a familiar face, “we note the seat locations,” Ms. LeBrun said. If, more than a few times, they see someone other than the original ticket-holder in the seat, the staff tries to kick the line-sitter out of line the next time he or she shows up.Right.
There's also this:
Free theater “means that your time and presence—waiting in line—matters more than your money,” Oskar Eustis, the Public’s artistic director, said to defend the theater’s position on line-sitters. “In our commodity-obsessed money culture, that’s a vital civic touchstone. Some things shouldn’t be measured in dollars.”Okay. But Eustis is missing the point that the current ticketing systems allows for exactly the opposite to happen: Perhaps a hundred seats a performance are going to people who have paid someone else to wait in line.
(The article's line-sitting protagonist puts the number of "regular" line-sitters at 30. At two tickets per, that makes 60 seats. And there are bound to be plenty of part-timers sitters as well.)
Remember, that's in addition to the 500-600 seats per night that go to donors, and to the house.
That leaves perhaps 1,000 seats for the masses. And that's wonderful. But if the folks at The Public are as committed to making Shakespeare in the Park widely accessible as their words suggest, they need to continue to make modifications to the ticketing policy.
And that should include considering convenience for regular, working people--even if that diminishes the size of the Delacorte ticket line, and the publicity juggernaut that comes with it.