Pay What You Can" is a familiar term in not-for-profit regional theatres as a way to encourage attendance by new people who might not be able to afford a full-price ticket.
In Manhattan, however, pay-what-you-can is unheard of as part of commercial box office policy and is seldom seen at the major nonprofits, but Playwrights Horizons is changing that this spring.
Playwrights Horizons, one of the city's major Off-Broadway companies, initiates a new pay-what-you-can (PWYC) program March 6, designating a number of seats at the first preview of Richard Nelson's Franny's Way. The new outreach effort is made possible by a grant from Ford Motor Company. Also in spring 2002, the first preview (May 3) of Boys and Girls by Tom Donaghy (directed by Tony Award-winner Gerald Gutierrez), is a PWYC performance.
On the designated dates, "a limited number of tickets will be offered on a walk-up, cash-only basis, starting one hour before showtime," according to the Playwrights announcement. "Audience members are asked to 'pay what they can' at the time of admission. Seating is subject to availability. Tickets may not be purchased in advance."
Tickets go on sale at 7 PM for an 8 PM curtain. Franny's Way plays at the Atlantic Theater, a venue borrowed by Playwrights while their new home is being built, 336 W. 20th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, in Chelsea. The PWYC night for the world premiere of Boys and Girls is May 3. Sales begin 7 PM for an 8 PM curtain. The show will play at the Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W. 42nd Street between Seventh and Eight Avenues.
— By Kenneth Jones