EXCLUSIVE: The latest venture in re-selling pricey Broadway ducats promises – here’s a shocker – to lower prices, not raise them. As long as you fit a certain profile, that is. The new service, dubbed “Swing Seats,” after performers skilled at stepping into any role at the last minute, will connect theatergoers holding spare tickets with students, artists and others who might not be able to afford them.
“Swing Seats” is offered jointly by the American Theatre Wing, the nonprofit service organization that co-produces the Tony Awards, and Show-Score, an online site whose members rank Broadway shows and that provides links for tickets.
How it works: Anyone with an extra theater ticket can go to http://www.show-score.com/swingseats and fill out a simple form with the name of the show, the performance date, and the number of spare tickets they have. No personal information is disclosed. An email is then sent to theater students, interns, and artists who have been vetted by the Wing, which will sell them for $10 each on a first come, first served basis. The fee is split between the two sponsors. Show-Score handles the ticket exchange, either in person or via email, depending on the situation.
“Swing Seats is an exciting extension of our mission to support theater artists and students,” said Heather Hitchens, President and CEO of the American Theatre Wing. “We already identify and nurture the next generation of theater makers, and now have a way to help them experience theater, connect them directly with theater fans who would like to meet them, and raise money to support our programs.”
Every theatergoer has experienced the hassle of finding someone at the last minute to take spare tickets that they may have. Using a secondary market ticketing site can be a hassle, and may be illegal, as is scalping the ticket in front of the theater. Donating the ticket back to the box office usually doesn’t solve the issue, since the ticket can’t be sold in time. As a result, thousands of tickets aren’t used every year.
“Our more than 135,000 members have told us that they would love to give their extra seats to a deserving audience member,” said Tom Melcher, founder and CEO of Show-Score.com. “We have the technology to do this, but didn’t have a good way to identify who was deserving. We were therefore delighted to partner with the American Theatre Wing, which already supports thousands of theater artists, interns and students.”