Broadway's Rent is ending its groundbreaking policy of offering $20 tickets in the first two rows of the theatre on a first-come, first-served basis. The discount will continue, but tickets will now be distributed via a lottery in front of the theatre each day, starting July 11.
Ticket buyers have been lining up as soon as the curtain comes down on one performance to buy the coveted tickets for the next, spending the night camped out in front of the box office on Manhattan's West 41st Street off Times Square.
On July 9, box office attendants said "there have been many complaints" about the current policy. Many people come to New York just to see Rent but are unable to spend a day waiting for tickets. Those that are willing to wait are often disappointed that only 34 tickets are available for sale, in the first two rows of the theatre. Some have also called the current policy unfair as many of the people who camp-out have seen the show numerous times.
The new policy states that about two hours before the show the 34 tickets will be sold by lottery in front of the theatre, with a limit of two tickets per person. Each person wishing to purchase tickets will be given a card and asked to fill in their name and the number of tickets (one or two) they wish to purchase. The cards will be available starting at 5:30 PM for the 8 PM performance, 11:30 AM for the 2 PM performance and 5 PM for the 7 PM performance. The cards will be placed in a container and a drawing will take place at 6 PM for 8 PM, noon for 2 PM and 5:30 PM for 7 PM. Eligible ticket buyers will then line-up at the box office to show ID and purchase tickets.
--By Laura MacDonald