Though most of the downtown denizens depicted in Broadway's Rent barely have two nickels to rub together, theatregoers hoping to see the Jonathan Larson musical on a Saturday night better have 1,600 nickels -- or the equivalent -- at the ready. The New York Post reported (Mar. 12) that top tickets for weekend performances of Rent at the Nederlander Theatre will rise from $75 to $80, beginning June 30.
Ticketmaster told Playbill On-Line that tickets for that period have not yet gone on sale.
A story in Associated Press later in the day confirmed the hike but also quoted a producer saying that since Mar. 1, more $35 "cheap seats" have been made available at other performances. Producer Jeffrey Seller told AP, "Those who can pay will make it easier for those who cannot. Grosses will pretty much stay the same, and they might even go down a bit." AP also pointed out that several musicals raised their tops to $80 during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Reached Mar. 12 by Playbill On-Line, Rent spokesperson Don Summa echoed producer Seller's words, saying, "They're lowering ticket prices in many of the mezzanine locations, because people were feeling some of those upstairs seats should be lower-priced. So the higher orchestra prices off-set the lower mezz prices. The grosses should come out about the same."
An $80 top for tickets would put Rent $4 ahead of Ragtime and The Sound of Music, currently the most expensive Broadways shows because of their $75 tops plus $1 theatre restoration charges. (Ragtime also instituted special VIP seating packages that sell for $125.) According to TicketMaster, tickets to Rent are currently on sale only through June 28. The NY Post notes that members of the Musician's Union, currently in contract negotiations with the League of American Theatres and Producers, are incensed about the timing of the alleged price hike. (That is, the timing of the increase makes it look like the producers are asking more money from consumers to pay for the musicians' demands.)
In other Rent news, here's the latest ticket and casting information (as of Mar. 10) on the various Rents across the globe:
Broadway: At the Nederlander Theatre, (212) 307-4100. The current Broadway cast features Norbert Leo Butz (Roger), Jim Poulos (Mark), Gwen Stewart (Joanne), Wilson Cruz (Angel), Michael McElroy (Collins), Jacques Smith (Benny), Kristen Lee Kelly (Maureen) and Marcy Harriell (Mimi). Opened April 29, 1996.
There are currently two American touring companies of Rent, the "Angel" and "Benny" companies, and a Canadian company which opened Dec. 7, 1997. Here, as of Mar. 30, are the tentative dates for the three tours:
This company began in Boston and just finished in Washington DC. The current cast includes Simone [sic] (Mimi), Shaun Earl (Angel), Christian Anderson (Mark), Manley Pope (Roger) and Amy Spanger (Maureen).
Chicago's Shubert Theatre: Nov. 5-April 5
Detroit's Fisher Theatre: April 8-June 14
Cleveland's Palace Theatre: June 16-28
Philadelphia's Merriam Theatre: June 30-TBA
Other cities on the horizon include Baltimore, St. Paul, Salt Lake City and Denver. F ` those dates, the show will either return to these cities or head to San Francisco, CA.
This company features Kirk McDonald (Mark), Andy Senor (Angel), Julia Santana (Mimi), Christan Mena (Roger), Leigh Hetherington (Maureen).
Houston: March 3-March 15
St. Louis, MO: March 17-March 22
Cincinnati: March 24-April 5
Tampa: April 7-April 19
Miami: April 21-May 3
Atlanta: May 5-May Hartford, CT: May 12-May 24
Pittsburgh: May 26-June 7
Providence, RI: June 9-14
Buffalo, NY: June 16-21
Rochester, NY: June 23-28
Columbus, OH: June 30-July 12. For information call (614) 224 7654.
Louisville, KY: July 14-July 26
Kansas City, MO: July 28-Aug. 2
Costa Mesa, CA: Aug. 4-Aug. 16
Portland, OR: Aug. 18-Aug. 30
Seattle: Sept. 1-TBA
Other cities may include Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Nashville, Dayton, Milwaukee, East Lansing, San Antonio, Austin, New Orleans and Indianapolis.
Luther Creek (Roger), Jenifer [sic] Aubry (Maureen), Chad Richardson (Mark), Damian Perkins (Benny) and Jai Rodrigez (Angel). Canadian pop star Saskia Garel joins the cast as Mimi (replacing Krysten Cummings) March 11. Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto: Nov. 25-July 26 (extended from May 10). For tickets (416) 872-1212.
Ottawa, National Arts Center: Aug. (national tour begins)
Vancouver, Vogue Theatre: Sept.
Rehearsals begin Sept. 14 for previews starting Oct. 20. The show opens at the Theatre Royal in Sydney, November 4.