Producer and blogger Ken Davenport, who created Off-Broadway's Altar Boyz and produced the Broadway productions of Blithe Spirit and Oleanna, solicited his "Producer's Perspective" blog readers to suggest ideas for a theatre-related iPhone app of their dreams.
Davenport and his staff incorporated reader ideas to create the app, which is currently available on iTunes for $.99, and provides a list of the Broadway and Off-Broadway shows currently available at TKTS and the percentage that the tickets are discounted.
"So many people contacted us and were saying this information is valuable to us and will help us go to the theatre more," Davenport told Playbill.com.
"What the app is about for me is that theatre is very expensive, especially for New Yorkers who live here year round," he said. "I want 'At the Booth' to be like Moviefone. So, instead of people saying, 'Let's see what's playing at the movies,' it's 'Hey, let's see what show we can get a great deal for at the booth.' I think it can really draw people to come to the theatre more often. It puts it as more of an option for people when deciding what to do on a Friday night."
"At the Booth" not only shows the discount percentage, but also how much the cost is in U.S. dollars and provides ticket buyers with comparisons to the full-price tickets and other available discounts. A "line indicator" also shows how long the line is, so theatregoers can gauge whether or not they want to brave the elements for half-priced tickets. The app also shows users at what time the information has been updated.
Davenport said that the app will be updated "approximately every hour, or when demand warrants. We are constantly making sure we have the most up-to-date information. It really depends on the time of the year and different days. Christmas week we'll be updating it more than we do in September, because in September most of the shows that start at the booth [when it opens] end at the booth [when it closes]. During Christmas week, shows go up, they go down and they also change their [discount] percentage. We're going to do our best to make sure the consumer has that information. It does change fast."
"At the Booth" provides maps, synopsis, performance schedule, running time, cast and creative team information, photos, videos, reviews, recent headlines and links to the show's official website. A list of all current Broadway and Off-Broadway productions are also listed.
Currently, "At the Booth!" only provides information on the Duffy Square location, within the heart of the theatre district. The Theatre Development Fund runs the TKTS booth, which also has kiosks in South Street Seaport and Downtown Brooklyn.
"While the booths are separate, a lot of the information is the same. We believe we are covering some of that now, but our primary focus is on the Times Square location," Davenport said.
TDF issued the following statement regarding "At the Booth!": "We understand that for some time the public has been interested in having an iphone app to find out what is available at our TKTS Discount Booths," said TDF executive director Victoria Bailey. "To that end, we are currently beta testing a TKTS/TDF iPhone app that will be available in September. Among other features, the TKTS/TDF app will have live feeds which will accurately show what is available at all three TKTS Booths (Times Square, South Street Seaport and Downtown Brooklyn). While we always appreciate efforts to disseminate information about what is available at the TKTS Booths, we are concerned that this recently released app may not provide an accurate picture of ticket availability and line lengths considering the fluidity of both."
Davenport also states that "At the Booth" is in development and "coming soon" for use on other smartphone and mobile devices.
You can download "At the Booth" here.