Several shows will benefit on Aug. 29, the one night conventioneers are expected to attend the theatre. The GOP-approved show include a lucky octet: The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aida, 42nd Street, Bombay Dreams, Movin' Out, The Phantom of the Opera and Wonderful Town. The convention bought out each of the eight matinees.
That leaves 15 others shows out in the cold, not to mention Frozen, Little Shop of Horrors and Caroline, or Change, which arguably chose to close before the politicians arrived, rather than tough out the week.
But the convention's impact goes beyond its likely failure to flood lobbies with delegates. A large portion of New Yorkers have voiced their intention to avoid the city during the convention, thus robbing Broadway of a big part of its audience.
Perhaps not uncoincidentally, Broadway producers have introduced a late-summer sales promotion. During the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 2, any theatregoer purchasing a full price ticket can buy a second ticket for $20.04 — a price reminiscent of the "restaurant week" lunch fares which have been a success in New York for years.
The participating shows are After the Fall, Bombay Dreams, Chicago, 42nd Street, The Frogs, Golda’s Balcony, Hairspray, Mamma Mia!, Marc Salem’s Mind Games on Broadway, Movin’ Out, The Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, Rent, Sly Fox and Wonderful Town. "The producers had indicated that they were concerned that tickets sales might be slow that week and wondered if we could generate any ideas," League of American Theatres and Producers president Jed Bernstein told Playbill On-Line.
In a prepared statement, Bernstein commented, "With the nation’s attention focused on the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden, Broadway shows are joining with other local industries to celebrate our home town as the news, culture, and entertainment capital of the world." However, in an interview with PBOL, he hastened to add that the promotion was more connected to the traditionally slow sales period which arrives in late summer. As for the convention's expected deleterious effect on theatre attendance, he said, "The truth is nobody knows that."
He added that the promotion is meant to support the "notion that good things are happening because of the convention, but not just for convention goers. Few people remember, but `restaurant week' began in 1992 because of the Democratic National Convention, and it was such a success they decided to do it every year."
To order the promotional tickets by phone: For Bombay Dreams, Chicago, The Frogs, Golda’s Balcony, Mamma Mia!, Marc Salem’s Mind Games on Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, Sly Fox, and Wonderful Town call Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or log onto BroadwayOffers.com and mention code "COME2BWAY." For 42nd Street, Hairspray, Movin’ Out, and Rent call Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100 or log onto Ticketmaster.com/Broadway and mention the same code, "COME2BWAY." For After the Fall call Roundabout at (212) 719-1300 or log onto Roundabouttheatre.org and mention code "AF2BYY."