For thousands of theatregoers, few monthly mailings have been as eagerly anticipated as Theatre Development Fund's offers of discounts on theatre tickets. Each mailing, with the big, blue "TDF" letters on the corner of the envelope, would contain three or four offers for Broadway, Off-Broadway and occasional dance or special events. Each offering would be on a legal size page, with a separate, detachable cardboard order form.
Well, say goodbye to the stuffed TDF envelopes of yesteryear. As of October, the non-profit theatre organization has streamlined mailings to its Patrons, putting all its offers on one fold-out.
The basic system of ordering tickets is still the same; TDF Patrons (who pay a $15 annual fee) get to choose among several dates. The customer lists a "preferred date" but also gives two alternate dates, in case tickets for the preferred date are no longer available. The Patron then includes a check for the total order (orders for each show include a $2.00 handling charge) and mails it to TDF. As TDF Executive Director Jack Goldstein notes in his letter to the Patrons, "We feel that this new brochure will make it easier for you to order your tickets... Our mission is to make the performing arts available to our constituents at the most affordable costs possible."
TDF spokesperson David LeShay (reached Nov. 3) echoed the executive director's sentiments. "The new way is more user-friendly for the patrons. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. It's a clearer, cleaner, easier system. It's all on one sheet, and it's also less paper."
TDF Mailing tickets for Broadway shows generally run $15-$20, with Off Broadway shows running $12-$15. Both are a third or sometimes even a quarter of the cost of full-price seats. Now 30 years old, TDF was founded "to foster works of artistic merit by supporting new productions." The organization sells more than 2.5 million discounted tickets annually through the aforementioned mailings, as well as via special education programs and via New York City's TKTS Booths.
For information on Theatre Development Fund please write to TDF, 1501 Broadway, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10036 or check out their website: http://www.tdf.org
-- By David Lefkowitz