Broadway is not the only segment of the New York theatre community reaching out to a reticent public with a new series of ads. Beginning Sept. 28, Off-Broadway will make its own pitch with a half-price ticket offer. The campaign will begin in the New York Times, with spots running through Oct. 31. Twenty-six Off-Broadway shows are participating.
"What we are offering as motivation to get people back in the seats," said Terry Byrne of the League of Off-Broadway Theatres, "is a deal in which you can bring a stub from any Off-Broadway show to the box office of any of the 26 participating shows and get half price tickets for each stub."
As such, a theatregoer who had attended a Wednesday matinee of De La Guarda could take his stub to the nearby Vineyard Theatre and see Unwrap Your Candy that evening.
The shows involved include I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, The Vagina Monologues, tick, tick...BOOM!, Bat Boy, De La Guarda, Down South, First Love, Forbidden Broadway, Havana Is Waiting, Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, Late Nite Catechism, Love, Janis, Matamorphoses, Much Ado About Nothing, Musicals in Mufti, Naked Boys Singing, Perfect Crime, Puppetry of the Penis, Reefer Madness, Six Goumbas and a Wannabe, Stomp, The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged, The Donkey Show, The Shape of Things, Unwrap Your Candy, Where's My Money?, with more shows signing up all the time.
"I think this shows the community spirit of Off-Broadway," said Byrne. "You can see 26 very disparate shows with this deal. Some need the deal more than others," yet they're all taking part. Byrne said the League is contemplated placing ads in other publications as well. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the number of ticket-buying theatregoers has plummeted all over town. On Broadway, the crisis has resulted is the closing of several shows, while others are surviving only through union concessions. Off-Broadway is taking a different road to good health. Instead of shuttering, many productions—including Tony 'n Tina's Wedding, The Syringa Tree and Our Sinatra—have decided to take a hiatus, resuming performances later in the fall.
—By Robert Simonson