Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boston Theatre- 2008-2009 Subscription Survey

Boston Area Theaters are gearing up for the new season, and it is time for my annual, unscientific subscription survey!

Just a few notes before the listings:

This is a mostly unscientific survey of the subscription packages of most of our theatres that offer them. For my results I start with of the cheapest subscription package that you can purchase. This is usually the Preview/Weeknights and Matinees/Off Peak packages in the Balcony/B tier seating. However, I do exclude packages that are extremely strict such as "Wednesday Matinee Previews" or "First Tuesday."

Next, I divide the total cost of the package by the number of plays in the package. I also don't deal with things like Student Discounts, Senior Discounts, Early Bird Discounts, Under 35 Discounts, as well as Flexpass options. (As a note, Flexpass generally does not provide savings as much as convenience.)

Many theater companies are offering multiple subscription packages of different combinations of plays, (3 play subscription, 4 play subscriptions, etc.)but for the final results I have listed the largest subscription package because it generally provides the largest per-ticket discount. In other words, the more plays you subscribe to, the larger your overall savings. But somebody could create a nice theatre season by combining smaller packages. For instance: A three play package from one theater could be combined with a 4 play package from another theater.

Subscribing still offers the best savings for people interested in seeing theatre. For instance, you can subscribe to a whole season at some companies for less than one ticket to a Broadway touring show!

Many theatres are offering Under 35 Discounts, which I will deal with in a future post.

My prices do not include processing fees, building maintenance fees, or other fees.

I have decided that this is the last year I will include Preview Subscriptions as a viable option. With Equity contracts necessitating the continuous shrinking of rehearsal time, it is my opinion that even opening nights can sometimes be a pretty shaky affair, (gaps between cues, obvious dropped lines, really shaky scene transitions and just an overall first run- through feel.) This has happened to such an extent that it has made me question the value proposition of the discount for a Preview subscription.

Here are the listings:

Company One: 4 Play Subscription: $20.00 Per Play

Merrimack Repertory Theatre: 6 Play Subscription: $22.00 Per Play

Trinity Repertory Theatre: 6 Play Subscription $22.00 Per Play

Actors Shakespeare Project: 4 Play Subscription: $22.50 Per Play

New Repertory Theatre, 7 Play Subscription: $26.00 Per Play

Lyric Stage: 7 Play Subscription: $27.00 Per Play

Huntington Theatre Company: 7 Play Subscription: $27.14 Per Play *

Stoneham Theatre: 7 Play Subscription: $28.42 Per Play
American Repertory Theatre: 7 Play Subscription: $33.42 Per Play.

Speakeasy Stage: 5 Play Subscription: $38.00 Per Play

Some closing notes:
This survey is not artistic, there are interesting and important productions to see in any of the seasons these companies are sporting. However, there are also productions in each of their seasons that I could probably do without. In that case, somebody could look into several smaller play subscriptions, as I mentioned above.

I am not responsible for the prices listed, they can change at anytime.

The information has been gathered from the websites of the individual companies, AS BEST AS I COULD DECIPHER. Some companies make it extremely difficult to follow what you would be paying and what is included in the subscriptions. Representatives from the companies are free to contact me, and I will make corrections, but they should also look at this survey as reflection of how easy it is to follow the subscription packages on your website.

*(Just a note: The Huntington subscription above is for the C seating section, which, at the BU Theatre, (the Huntington's Mainstage,) does make a difference in the viewing experience. I was tempted to do their breakdown from their B seating, but the C seating option gives such a substantial discount to the Mainstage productions that I decided not to ignore it: $20 per play for the mainstage is a pretty good value. For a 7 play subscription to the B Seating you are looking at about $35 per play.)


Thomas Garvey said...

You know, Art, what this piece needs is a graph. Perhaps with "quality of play" vs. "price of play"? Hmmm . . . .

Art said...

I did actually think about that!

Now where did I get that idea? :)