Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Saturday Afternoon In Studio 54 With Bad Seats

Saturday Afternoon In Studio 54 With Bad Seats

Regular readers will know that when it comes to theatre seats, I prefer to be up close and personal with the stage, so when it comes to buying tickets, I'm usually pleased when an opportunity to purchase Row B seats pop up.

Dear readers will also recall that I offered a very favorable review of the Broadway revival of Sunday In The Park With George.

Great show.

Pity about the seats.

When I arrived at Studio 54 a week ago Saturday, I had that rush of adreneline I get when the usher directs me to the front of the theatre. But when my party of three reached our seats in Row B (seats 7, 9 and 11), we realized that two of the three of us were literally outside the sightlines for the left hand side of the stage. Never mind that we paid exactly the same price as those with prime center orchestra seats.

There was so much jostling and complaining -- by the people in seats B 3 and 5 -- that they eventually got reseated in the center. Since all this occurred literally right before the show began, the three of us had little choice but to stay put. However, we each moved over two positions.

Now, I realize that the Roundabout Theatre Company is a not-for-profit operation, but to charge the same price for these terrible seats and without any warning that the view is obstructed is just this side of criminal.

So, caveat emptor to anyone who's purchasing tickets to this wonderful show. If you're offered seats near the front on the sides, either ask what discount you'll receive or flatly refuse. Otherwise, you'll walk away feeling as cheated as I did.

And that's no Sunday in the park!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Sunday In The Park With George (The SOB Review) (February 22, 2008)
Ever Had A Front Row Seat? (October 1, 2008)

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At 27 February, 2008, Blogger SarahB said...

Oh this just makes me so mad for you. This is how I suffered at Spamalot and probably why I hated that show. No warning whatsoever that I had purchased partial view seats for and paid more than I ever had for Broadway and I didn't even want to see it to begin with if it hadn't been a tourist friend's request. Oh now I'm steaming just thinking about it. I don't mind paying for partial view if I know in advance that it's an option! Curse words!

At 27 February, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks Sarah! Let's put it this way, I expect more when I pay more. And I expect more from Roundabout than this.

At 27 February, 2008, Blogger ModFab said...

I love that you're writing about this, Steve...I think it's the big undiscussed problem on Broadway, which is only becoming worse given the exhorbitant increasese in ticket prices the last few years.

There are theatres where sight lines are perfectly acceptable for those in side seats. (I'm think of the Richard Rodgers, the Gershwin, the Hirschfeld, etc.) But most of the Broadway houses are deadly for anyone more than 2 seats off the aisle. (God help you at the Booth, and I'll never sit that far over at the Winter Garden again).

It's even worse when shows are imported from other theatres, and the designers don't take the new sight lines into account...this is what I think is happening at SUNDAY IN THE PARK, and at AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, where you can miss the pivotal dinner scene in Act Two almost entirely if you're too far over.

Bottom line: center seats are center for a reason, and should be priced higher than side seats. In most cases, there simply isn't equity between them.

At 28 February, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

ModFab, I wholeheartedly endorse everything you've said. The last thing any theatre should want is a patron unhappy because he/she was sold a terrible seat for top dollar.

And thanks for the heads-up on August: Osage County's sightlines.... I had no idea since I was thankfully center orchestra.

I do recall having the same issues at the Shubert (the same theatre that lives in infamy with Sarah B.) when I saw Gypsy with Bernadette Peters a few years ago - I was so far over to the left that I missed the end of "Rose's Turn."

As for the Winter Garden, I haven't been there since 1985, so it's almost as if I haven't been there at all.

At 28 February, 2008, Blogger Mondschein said...

Hi Steve. I'd encourage you to contact the Roundabout about this problem. As a non-profit they cater to their subscriber base, but they sell LOTS of tickets to non-subscribers. They need to hear constructive feedback from that part of their audience as well.

At 28 February, 2008, Blogger Vance said...

Oooh I hate that. I'm also wondering how they even spit out the tickets. I sort of made the mistake of asking my friend to get me August Osage County tickets (uh, I do whatever to save on service charges. Sorry, I'm a cheapass and make friends do the work for me, ha) and she just asked for the best seats available. Since I had checked the internet beforehand, I knew there were still tickets in Row A Centre and Row B centre (and it wasn't VIP prices) but my friend was given Row E Sides. Then I checked online after and those Row A and B seats were still there. WTF? Wouldn't you expect the ticket agent to give you the best seats? Which is why I'll pester them now to keep checking, they get angry/annoyed, and then I find closer more centred seats but it's their fault I'm going to become more annoying that way.

(It's happened on a few other shows too, I'm just using the latest example).


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