In a season when Broadway ticket sales are sluggish due to the cold weather, and in a time when national and city security is heightened, the image of the guarded, customerless ticket counter — an area usually surrounded by throngs — might send out the wrong message.
However, Theatre Development Fund, which runs the discount tickets program, assured Playbill On-Line it's business as usual at the kiosk at the crossroads of the world.
"The photo in today's New York Times was a powerful image of the heightened security measures being taken in New York City and, in fact, throughout the country," said David LeShay, director of communications at Theatre Development Fund. "It also can leave the impression that there was no activity at TKTS. The photo was taken hours before we opened for business, on a Monday when only a handful of shows perform and when two to four inches of snow were forecast. When we opened at 3 PM, we had a typical Monday at TKTS."
The Times caption read: "Alert for Terror: With the nation on high alert, police officers with rifles provided additional security in Times Square yesterday."
According to the League of American Theatres and Producers, some shows saw a significant rise in sales the week of Feb. 3-9, as compared to the previous week. Shows seeing a significant increase in the past week were Aida (up $34,696), Flower Drum Song (up $28,302), Beauty and the Beast (up $53,225), Chicago (up $46,000), Les Misérables (up $55,030), Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (up $70,921), Man of La Mancha (up $19,424), Metamorphoses (up $33,499), Oklahoma! (up $60, 342), The Lion King (up $24,865), The Phantom of the Opera ($49,570) and Thoroughly Modern Millie ($52,094). The league figures seem to indicate that it might be easy to walk up to the box office and buy a full-price ticket to such hot shows as The Lion King (which was at 86.2 percent of capacity Feb. 3-9) and The Producers (at 78.8 percent of capacity).
Once spring kicks in and families, metro New Yorkers and tourists return to Broadway, ticket availability for the most sought-after will diminish, observers say.