Composer Jason Robert Brown took to social media August 15 to apologize for problems some fans experienced trying to buy pre-sale tickets earlier that day to a special upcoming concert performance of his musical The Last Five Years, starring Cynthia Erivo and Joshua Henry.
Tickets went on sale at 10 AM that day, but fans found then were either unable to log on to the site, or when they tried to buy the lowest-price tickets at $50, were accidentally charged for more expensive tickets. The concert sold out within hours of pre-sale tickets being made available.
Brown organized the concert to benefit the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which advocates for gun control, one of Brown‘s personal causes. Brown took to social media to apologize for the snafu. On his Facebook page he wrote, ”I'm sorry if it was a lousy experience, and I'll try to figure out how to improve that if I ever produce anything again.” But he added, ”But what is most important is that we raised a substantial amount of money just in the course of a couple of hours...and that money will be able to fund some incredibly important work.”
He also tweeted about the issue:
I know it is extremely frustrating to have tried to get tickets today and not been successful. I’m sorry we don’t have more to sell, but ...— Jason Robert Brown (@MrJasonRBrown) August 16, 2016
He reassured that the tickets were not bought up by so-called “ticket bot” scalping software:
The $50 tickets were snapped up within six minutes. Not by bots, just by fans. We deliberately kept those 7 rows at an affordable price.— Jason Robert Brown (@MrJasonRBrown) August 16, 2016
He thanks fans for their patience:
To everyone who bought (or tried to buy) tickets in the presale today, thank you so much for your patience and your support.— Jason Robert Brown (@MrJasonRBrown) August 16, 2016
He said that the money will go for a good cause:
Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and Tony nominee Joshua Henry (Shuffle Along) will star in the one-night-only special benefit performance of the Jason Robert Brown musical, directed by the composer himself. The September 12 concert at Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, midtown Manhattan, will aid the national organization that seeks to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025.
Brown released a statement saying, “Sometimes all of the elements come together serendipitously, and that has been the case with every element of this event. From the moment I heard Cynthia sing ‘I Can Do Better Than That’ at the Royal Festival Hall in London last year, I have been determined to see her interpretation of Cathy, one of the most nuanced and difficult roles I’ve ever written; and who could possibly be a better partner than Joshua, a singular extraordinary performer who was the definitive Jim Conley in Parade last year at Geffen Hall.”
Brown’s statement continued, ”To have such amazing artists bring my work to life is thrilling enough, but to be using this performance to benefit the invaluable and desperately important work of the Brady Center is a particular honor, the fulfillment of a real obligation for me and, I think, for everyone in the theatrical community—to raise awareness and raise funds to stop one of the defining moral failures of our time.”
Brown also told the New York Times, “I don’t have the ability to make a difference at the voting booth, and everyone we know is going to be voting the same way. This feels like political work that I can do in this election season. I have friends who go to Pennsylvania and knock on doors. This is the thing I can do.”
The Last Five Years (2001) charts the relationship of budding novelist Jamie Wellerstein and struggling actress Cathy Hiatt over the course of five years. The show uses an innovative structure, telling Cathy’s story backward in time as it tells Jamie’s story chronologically. Songs from the show have become favorites among cabaret singers and recording artists. A film version was released in 2015.
For more information on the concert, visit jasonrobertbrown.com.