Friday, October 13, 2006

Why Subscribe? Unraveling the complexities of theatre patronage

In every single ad, e-mail, program, and postcard that the Pasadena Playhouse creates, we include phrases like "Subscribe today" or "Save money when you subscribe!" yet we often neglect to explain subscriptions. This post will unravel the mysteries of subscription and the benefits to you, and the Playhouse.

What is a Pasadena Playhouse subscription and who is a subscriber?

A Pasadena Playhouse subscriber is a person who purchases tickets to multiple plays at one institution well in advance of the performance dates. Subscribers receive discounts off the single ticket price, the best available seats, the ability to book tickets before the generally public, complimentary exchange privileges, and discounts at local restaurants.

Why should I subscribe? I'm too busy to commit to multiple plays so far in advance!

Price and benefits. Subscriptions at Pasadena Playhouse start as low as $27.50 a ticket (Previews, Section B). That same ticket for this year's production of Fences with Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett would have cost $36, for The Last Five Years would have cost $47 and for SISTER ACT the Musical will cost $66. A subscriber would have paid only $82.50 to see all three plays while a non-subscriber would have paid $144 - nearly twice as much. Over a full six-play season, a subscriber can save hundreds on their tickets, and receive the best seats. Subscribers also can exchange their previously booked subscription tickets throughout the run of a show - giving almost six weeks into which you can select a new date!

This is weird - why would the Pasadena Playhouse give me such a huge discount for buying my tickets early?

The answer to this comes down to the economic realities of producing great theatre. Before a play ever opens, a theatre must hire a director, hold auditions, hire actors for several weeks of rehearsal, design the show and maintain the performance space. If the theatre did not have a constituency of loyal subscribers committing to both the plays on stage and the institution as a whole before the performances started, there would be no way the theatre could produce the quality of work for which Pasadena Playhouse is known.

I get what you're saying, but I still only want to see most of the plays that the Playhouse produced each year, not all six. Why should I pay for plays I have no desire to see? Or that you haven't even announced yet!

There are many answers to this question, but I will give you just two: When you consider the fact that you are saving so much money on your subscription tickets that you are essentially getting 1-2 plays a year for free, why not take a risk on something you may like even if it does not initially appeal to you. I know that some of the most amazing theatrical experiences I have ever had came from productions I did not expect to enjoy. Secondly, we happen to have a special promotion going right now that would give you all the subscriber benefits with only half the commitment...

If you call the box office before SISTER ACT the Musical opens on November 3, you can purchase a subscription that includes just three plays - SISTER ACT the Musical and the first two plays of 2007 - Defiance (by the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Doubt) and Cuttin' Up (from the creator of the Playhouse mega-hit Blue).

For more information on subscribing, SISTER ACT the Musical, the 2007 Season, or anything going on at the Playhouse, go to You may purchase a subscription by calling (626) 356-PLAY.

And oh, subscriptions start at just $87.50 per person for all three shows while a single ticket to SISTER ACT the Musical might cost you as much as $100 – so why not subscribe?

1 comment:

Steve Kang said...

Great post Joseph, and if I might just add another reason for a busy person (and who isn't?!) to subscribe.

How many times has an event, play or show of some sort come and gone before you realize it? It happens to all of us.

When you subscribe what you are really doing is making an advanced appointment for your own enjoyment and enrichment.

By subscribing to the Pasadena Playhouse and circling a few dates in your calendar you are guaranteeing that once every couple of months you will have a very special night of entertainment.

And that's even more important, and hard to come by in these busy times, if you're sharing the experience with a loved one or some friends.

I know everyone needs a little "me" time. Subscribing to the Playhouse is one way to make sure that happens.