See Theater For An Entire Year: Play-By-Play Membership Giveaway Contest

PlaybyPlaylogoWin the chance to see theater in New York for an entire year, by entering this first-ever giveaway contest for a membership to Play-By-Play.

As they explain on their website, Play-By-Play is an organization that fills unsold seats to a variety of entertainment events. Normally, a year’s membership costs a total of $115 (less than the price of an orchestra seat ticket to most Broadway shows.)

The winner of the membership will be given a starting balance of $20 added to their account so that they can start seeing shows right away. The only charge for seeing shows to the winner of the membership will be a $4 processing fee per ticket.

There are terms and conditions of Play-by-Play membership, which you should read before entering this contest.

To enter the contest, please follow these simple rules:

Answer either one of these questions –

Everybody complains about ticket prices, but live theater costs money and people have to make a living. What idea do you have to help make theater more affordable?


What was the most you’ve ever spent on a show? What was the show? Why was it worth it?

1. Please put your answer in the comments at the bottom of this blog post, because the winner will be chosen through based on the order of your reply, not its content.
But you must answer the question, complete with explanation, or your entry will not be approved for submission.
2. Please include in your answer your Twitter name and follow my Twitter feed at @NewYorkTheater so that I can send you a direct message. (If you don’t have a Twitter name, create one. It’s free.)
3. This contest ends Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at midnight Eastern Time, and I will make the drawing no later than noon the next day. You must respond to my direct message on Twitter within 24 hours or I will choose another winner.
(4. All submissions have to be approved, so you won’t necessarily see your entry right away: Please be patient, and don’t submit more than once.)

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

27 thoughts on “See Theater For An Entire Year: Play-By-Play Membership Giveaway Contest

  1. Actually I am finding that dynamic pricing is having the effect of keeping theatre prices reasonable, as in some ways budgeting a show to include reasonable estimates of premium seat purchases often allows producers to offer lower priced seats in the balcony or to implement some important discounts later in the run, either if the show is proving unpopular, or if the show has paid off its investment and is somehow floundering in its last weeks. @Queerbec has paid $189 for a ticket for a single show directly, but also paid about that much as a Public Theater summer supporter, which gave me a ticket for a show at the Delacorte. I have yet to break the $200 mark for a single show, and will try to avoid that as long as I can, but imagine that some day in the, I hope, distant future, I will pass that level. It will be a rare occurrence, but for something I must see and really, really want to see, I will probably do it.

  2. I think the most I’ve personally paid for a show ticket was $80 for the current Pippin revival. It was absolutely worth every penny. The production value, entertainment value, performances… they were all top notch.

    twitter: @mkg144

  3. I think the most I’ve ever spent was maybe on a ticket for the first night of my fave current show – Rock of Ages – at its new theatre, the Hayes, for $102. Normally I do rush, lotto, discount codes, etc, but I had to secure a ticket for that in advance so I could sit up front and center for the debut of the new cast and the new theatre, plus all my friends bought seats in the same row! And it was worth it because it was an amazing night, and felt perfect having all the long-time, diehard fans sitting up where the cast could see us all, cheering them on and inaugurating the RoA at the Hayes era! 🙂

    Twitter: @ladystardust25

  4. The most I’ve ever paid for a show was $100 for Sleep No More, and it couldn’t have been more worth it. I spent the full three hours with the Witches and Hecate, and the intimacy with which I got to know those characters has greatly expanded my expectations for an actor/audience connection. I became Hecate’s messenger (as I’m sure one lucky person per show does) and passed a series of break-up notes between her and her lover, each time returning to her private room and drinking a vial of salt tears. I ran back and forth, traversing the hotel for two or three deliveries, until I came back to the goddess. She looked deep into my eyes, sliped a ring onto my finger that once belonged to her evil ex-husband, and delivered one of the most devastating love songs I’ve ever heard performed on-stage (to me, the ex.) She then pulled me into a dark closet, told me that she would be searching for the ring for the rest of her supernatural existence, and released me back into the hotel to watch the show’s spectacular finale. Needless to say, I took a good, long, meditative rest after all was said and done, and was glad to tack an additional $15 onto my ticket price for a drink from the bar.

    Twitter: @samsilbiger

  5. I think that product placement would be a good way to make theater more affordable. Just like in tv and movies it would be minimally distracting

    @madamerkf is twitter name

  6. The most I ever spent on a show was around $120 each to go see Phantom of the Opera with my wife. We had just moved to NYC and wanted to see our first Broadway show desperately. Since then we have found much cheaper ways to see musicals and plays. Although it did not cost us money, our tickets to see John Lithgow in King Lear at Central Park this summer cost us an entire day waiting on line. I must say that it was worth the wait, but the tickets didn’t seem quite free when we finally got them. My twitter is @NYCplebe

  7. The most I’ve spent was just over 150 for the first performance of Matilda. It was definitely worth it, as I had been anticipating the show for over two years! I not only lived up to, but exceeded my expectations.

    Twitter: @phiiip_r

  8. Twitter: StealthCatBg
    Answer: I spent approximately 170 dollars per ticket for two people for the Lion King. It was worth it because it was for my girlfriend and it was her first time seeing the show and we sat 10th row center and seeing her reaction to the show was just priceless.

  9. The most I have spent on a ticket was $120 to the final performance of Next to Normal. I knew I had to be in that theatre for that experience and decided to do so full out, as I had usually seen the show through lottery, lottery loser, TKTS, or cheap mezzanine seats. Being next to a friend whom I met through the show, with some of the best seats in the house, for the final performance of my favorite show … how could it not be worth it? There’s such a bittersweet energy in a final performance that is hard to understand unless you’ve experienced one for yourself.

  10. How to make theater more affordable…such a tough question. Taxpayer subsidies for off- and off-off Broadway theater companies probably wouldn’t be well received in this economic climate. Corporate sponsored theater–instead of commercials, subsidizing theatrical ventures and placing ads in programs–is a good idea, unless the corporate sponsors want to dictate what kind of theater is presented. Very possibly we would not move much beyond the status quo. Maybe it is not the money we need to bring to the productions, but the audience. As New Yorkers (or Oregonians, or Texans…), if we all committed to support not only Broadway theater but off-Broadway and off-off and regional… if we made a commitment as a nation or a city or a community or an individual to support the arts in whatever way possible..maybe that would make theatre more affordable by the sheer numbers attending? And of course, bringing in stars to Broadway shows has upped the cost and made it so that you can’t get to Broadway without a star—and a star’s salary—and a star’s ticket price. Can we go out of our way to support and create shows without the star appeal? I guess I’m saying it could be up to us, the audience, to make a difference. Because theater makes a difference in our lives. @lyndacc

  11. I know that this topic has been broached before, about ways to make theater more cost effective, and one of the answers that I continuously hear is that recordings of the show being sold as audio cast recordings or video cost recordings would be something the fans would willingly purchase (from a show that they attended, as well as for shows that they don’t). I suppose that this type of idea would probably be more well-suited to the younger generation who frequent social media and share bootlegs of shows. If they’re going to do it illegally, why can’t theaters just decide to make it legal and sell their own recordings? Of course, I’m wise enough to realize that it’s not just about what happens in the theater — the writers, musicians, producers, directors, etc. all would have to agree on rights and who gets what of each percentage of sale. Many of the older shows, such as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, the Lion King, etc, have been around for years and are part of a much larger licensing operation. With fans being so eager to snatch up merchandise with these shows’ logos on it, however, I would have to assume that the details to do video or audio recordings could be ironed out more smoothly than one assumes.

    Many of the actors in these shows also do what we all refer to as “stage dooring” after a show. They come out and sign autographs and take photos and do it for free. Would it be so preposterous to start asking people to donate a few bucks more for a chance to meet an actor before or after a show? If theater-goers are diehard enough, they’ll pay…and they’ll likely pay more than what is being asked up front, to begin with. Futhermore, none of Broadway’s theaters offer backstage tours to groups who come into the city. Why not? Surely the theaters can arrange for tour guides and accept the money of curious folks who would happily sign up to take the tour in the first place. Even if the theaters only did it for an hour or two early each day — before fight calls and tech and blocking hours, etc — I still believe it would be quite popular. If fans are charged $10 or $15 a head and they could even get 20 or 30 people in every day, that adds up to the theaters making at least a few thousand more per week.

    I realize that most of the theaters collect for Broadway Cares (BCEFA) all year around, and that perhaps they wouldn’t want to start making meet and greets and tours so easily obtainable, as these are also auctioned off for charity at events like Broadway Flea Market. However, if it comes down to the idea that theaters could make more money and keep ticket prices even slightly lower, I believe that people who generally feel they “can’t afford” to see a lot of theater would see shows more often.

    Twitter: @LVShannyLeigh

  12. The most I ever spent on a theatre ticket was technically a donation. I was determined to see the Public’s “Into the Woods” in Shakespeare in the Park 2012 and I didn’t live in NYC at the time so I couldn’t rely on waiting on the overnight line for free tickets. Instead I became a “Summer Supporter” for the year by donating something like $185 to the Public which entitled me to one ticket to ItW. It was not really a donation I could comfortably afford, but it was completely worth it to see that amazing cast, and Donna Murphy’s performance of Last Midnight alone was worth the money.

    Twitter handle: @andrewjhanley

  13. The way to beat high theater prices it to do away with the unions. In the 19th Century there were no unions. Actors and stagehands were paid whatever producers could get away with and all the people could afford to come to the theater. Of course actors and stagehands would have to learn to budget their money to survive between shows on food stamp programs and city housing, which many do today.

  14. Promote theater more on television and start kids young on the love of theater around the world. The more people who love it the more who will come and the cheaper tx sales can be.
    Also, making theaters around cities more like sports and each theater competes, with uniforms and chants and such. Allow patrons to eat and drink and move around more like the movies.

  15. I have always felt that filling the house every night is the most beneficial goal/mindset for everyone involved (production, cast, producers, and patrons). So if you sell out every night at $150 a head, great! Theatre is thriving and ultimately, no one loses in this scenario. However, for all us starving artists/students/young professionals, it’s good to remember that everything has a shelf life. Nothing is going to sell every seat every time forever so when numbers dwindle during the week, create a plethora of discount options to choose from (for all ages and walks of life). The rushes and lottos are great, but my-and I think many people’s-frustration comes when those options are filled, and yet there are still 20-30-40+ open seats at curtain. There are a lot of people who didn’t win the lotto, or weren’t early enough for a rush ticket who would gladly wait at the box until 5 min to curtain for the opportunity to buy one of those seats for +\- $20. Require those people to tweet a box office photo with the show hashtag to get in, Instagram, Facebook it! Build a positive buzz because you “fill your seats” instead of a gaggle of posts bemoaning the loss of yet another lottery attempt. To me, having these seats sit empty is almost entirely avoidable and damaging to the community as a whole.


  16. I can’t remember the exact price but it was over a $100 each ticket to see “in the Heights” on Broadway. I grew up in the Heights and very much wanted to see it. It was very much worth it the show was great and I loved the music. I was lucky enough to see it when Lin-Manuel Miranda played the role of Usnavi. I have been a fan of the very talented Mr. Miranda ever since. @PiscesMist

  17. The most I paid would have to be including plane fare to go to LA and see the Kennedy Center/Broadway revival of FOLLIES twice–either that or seeing the production at the Kennedy Center 4 times including train/hotel. Since I got burned with BOUNCE not coming into New York, I was not going to risk missing my favorite show in revival. And then when the opportunity to head to LA and see Victoria Clark join the cast came up, I could not refuse. Nothing against Bernadette Peters but it so paid off–Ms Clark bought out other aspects in Sally that raised the bar for all the leads. It was all SO worth it.

  18. I have never paid full price for a Broadway show until this year. I paid $150 to sit in the Rear Mezzanine to see Les Miserables on opening night March 23, 2014. Les Miserables is my favorite show of all time and I had always wanted to go to an opening night. I picked out my seat, 3 rows from the back of the house but when I got to the box office to pick up my ticket they had moved my seat to the first row of the rear mezzanine! I will always remember standing across the street watching Broadway royalty pass through the step and repeat, and then crossing the street with my ticket in hand to go and see the same show they were attending. Although my wallet was not so happy, I was. Buying an opening night ticket was SO worth the money I spent. I was blown away by the cast and loved this revival.

  19. The most I paid for a Broadway show was $250 plus fees for Book of Mormon. It was completely sold out, so I had to buy it from Stubhub. That was outside the plane ticket to NYC (I live in SF), It was worth it because I only had very limited time in NYC (It was at the end of a business trip) and I really wanted to see the show. The show, of course, turned out to be absolutely wonderful, so it’s money well spent.

  20. The most ever spent on a ticket of my “own money” was to get a day-of premium ticket to Wicked. I had tried the lotto & lost repeatedly. It was to see a specific actor in the show and the friend I was with saw how heartbroken I was, she got me a premium ticket. I gave her all the cash I had (about $80 at the time) & she covered the rest. I can’t remember the total amount of this single ticket, but it was more than I could afford.

    On that note, my aunt bought 4 premium tickets for us to see Book of Mormon. We both wanted to go and she was willing to splurge for the center orchestra seats. I think for the 4 tickets, including fees, she paid $1500 – quite a graduation present!

    (Twitter handle: @jsibille42)

  21. I spent about $100 for an orchestra seat to see William Shatner’s one man show. It was very entertaining and I don’t regret the spending of the money. I wanted to see his show because it seems as though he’s had a very eventful life and he doesn’t seem to have to lie about anything (unlike Tyson’s show, where I feel like everything was a lie)

  22. The most I have spent on a ticket was 150 dollars to see the second preview of Newsies. I grew up with the movie and was absolutely thrilled to see it on stage. Absolutely worth every penny
    Twitter handle: @wackeal

  23. The most I spent was $120 per ticket for center orchestra seats to Annie for my niece’s first Broadway show. Worth it to see her delight. @mymusicboxes

  24. The best and most expensive at the time, show I got to see, was the Producers! With Lane and Broderick. There is that very special magic of live performance that can only be felt in person. Those two powerhouse actors sizzled. It was a glorious night and I will always treasure the chance I had to enjoy it.

  25. I paid full price for orchestra tickets to Lion King for my daughter and I. I think they were about $150 a piece. I see a lot of theater, but I pride myself on the deals I get! However, in this case, it was worth every penny to see both the show and the look of amazement on my daughter’s face! @pegc4

  26. The most I’ve ever spent on a show ticket was $158.50 (including the $8.50 online fee). The ticket was for Dosney’s NEWSIES and it was for May 5, 2012. The ticket meant more to me than most for a few reasons. It was the very first Broadway show ticket I paid for completely on my own. I used 90% of my first paycheck at my job for it, but it was beyond worth it. The seat was front row center-my very first front row seat EVER. I could see the conductor’s balding head right before my eyes! I could see the sweat of those hardworking boys RIGHT THERE. I was awestruck by the intimacy of a front row place in the theatre. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Going to the theatre isn’t the cheapest thing, I know, especially being a college student. However, you’re paying for a life-changing, world changing experience. That $158.50 ticket gave me a seat to a show I had been dying to see for months. It gave me a chance to meet some of my favorite stage actors (who in return recognized me from all of the promotion I do for the show). It gave me a free souvenir from a day I’ll never forget (a piece of newspaper thrown into the audience-I caught one!). But most importantly, it gave me friends. I met so many people that day and the times I’ve seen the show after that first time. I had no idea that one $158.50 ticket would wind up changing my life, but it did in a huge way.

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