3 minute read

Can They Get Theatre Tickets Without Gouging?

Manhattan theatre managers have been banking heavily on the advent of swarms of delegates to the Democratic National Convention to bolster up the Summer attendance at shows. How much patronage will actually flow to the theatres from the Convention is a question causing scepticism among the wise or hoot-owls. Broadway dopsters figure that many of the practiced delegates will expect to go to shows on passes, on the sheer strength of being delegates.

But there will probably be many attending the Convention who will want to have their fling in New York. Being strangers here, they will be ready to pay. Whether they will have to pay through the nose (i. e.—dearly) depends on two factors, to wit:

1) Managers.

2) Box office men.

And the greatest of these, paradoxically, are the box office men.

Several important elements in the theatrical world have already announced that they will not boost their seat prices sky-high in order to pluck the political lamb come to the slaughter. The newly-formed Managers’ Protective Association, formed by Lee Shubert as a rival to the old Producing Managers’ Association, has made known that seats to 75% of the current attractions, controlled by them, will not be sold for a small ransom.

They plan to establish a central ticket agency, an echo of the erstwhile Central Ticket Office once nearly adopted, at Madison Square Garden, where tickets will be sold at the old-fashioned or box office scale. Supervision of this bureau is to be in the hands of William A. Brady and L. Lawrence Weber, prima facie evidence that there will be a strong effort to stump the speculators. Mr. Brady has long been known as a foe of this gentry; Mr. Weber recently proposed a feasible scheme whereby they could be laid low.

The Dramatists’ Theatre, in furtherance of its aim to be the advance-agent of Decency, has announced that there will be no advance for its current attraction, The Goose Hangs High. And Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., to keep faith with the Convention, stated that the opening-night seats for the new Follies will go no higher than $5.50. He has appointed a majordomo to scrutinize each applicant with the eye of suspicion and daunt the “gyps.”

In the last analysis the number of tickets that find their way into the hands of robber barons who run the wildcat agencies depends on: a) the honesty of the theatre treasurers and b) the skill with which speculators “dig” for tickets at the box office through groups of confederates. Mr. Brady himself has admitted that these two sources of conspiracy are hard to squelch.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at