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It May Be a Nonprofit Theater, but the Tickets Look For-Profit

Thursday, March 13, 2014   (0 Comments)
New York Times (02/15/14) Healy, Patrick

Some of New York City's nonprofit theaters aim to counter the damage they suffered during the recession by raising ticket prices, sometimes drastically. For example, for its revival of "Cabaret," the Roundabout Theater has raised the top ticket price to $162, compared with $75 during the show's earlier run. Roundabout suffered a $5.5 million deficit on a $60 million budget in 2013, and a decline in the theater's subscribers has been a key factor. Most Off Broadway nonprofits maintain ticket prices between $25 and $75 in their productions' earlier weeks, but hit shows usually require wage increases, which raises ticket prices. Still, Roundabout artistic director Todd Haimes says the theater's subscribers will pay as little as $75 for the best seats, while people under 35 can get seats for $25. Other strategies nonprofits are following to cover costs include renting out theater space and partnering with commercial producers, often by giving them future rights to productions in exchange for money. Roundabout's earlier fundraising campaigns focused on theater renovation, while the next one will concentrate on boosting the nonprofit's $16 million endowment.

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