I had hardly started writing my latest review (Love Letters — I’ll get to it) but it was going well. Really well. “This is fascinating,” I thought! Of course, what I was writing about had nothing to do with the show. To make a long story short, an anecdote about TDF in my review got me wondering about how often I use TDF. So I created a Google Spreadsheet to tally where I’ve bought every theater ticket in 2014. This expanded into a bonanza of spreadsheet fun. So perhaps this discussion deserves its own post? And I’m giving you wonderful blog readers plenty of nerdy charts to go with it. Never think you deserve anything less!
Let’s start from the beginning, with how many shows I’ve seen in 2014 from month to month.
That’s a total of 52 shows as of 9/17/14, which is pretty impressive for a layperson (though I doubt any theater folks would have trouble beating that). It’s no surprise that the spring was the busiest time of year, though I’d have guessed April and May would beat out March.
Despite my affinity for musicals, I seem to see far more plays.
All right, now on to the good stuff. How much do I spend on theater? (Mom, don’t look at this chart.) The tally so far this year is $1,701.29. Sounds about right to me. Here’s how that financial outlay breaks down from month to month.
As you can see, the springtime (the end of the Broadway season) is lots more expensive than the summer (fringe and festival season). Of course, I’m also going to see more during the spring. My overall average ticket price as of now is $32.72 per show, which got me to wondering how much more shows in the spring cost me than shows in the summer. Here’s my average ticket price from month to month.
What interests me is that the average went way down in April, despite having seen so many Broadway shows that month. I think this can be attributed to two factors:
- Jada must have taken me to see a few shows that month, and
- I bought two Broadway tickets for $25 each, thanks to Roundabout’s Hiptix program.
In any case, my overall $32.72 per ticket average is a lot lower than normal box office prices. That’s because I rarely buy from directly from the box office, and almost never from any online vendors such as Telecharge and Ticketmaster. If I buy online, it’s usually directly from the theater (for example, bam.org or publictheater.org). Here’s where I get my tickets:
Note: the above chart says that I got one ticket through Broadway.com. True, but this was only because a friend had a gift certificate. NEVER, NEVER buy tickets through Broadway.com. They often charge $30 or more in service fees. PER TICKET.
Anyway, another factor keeping my average ticket price fairly low is that I don’t see everything on Broadway. Much as I’d like to! I just can’t afford it. The following chart lists the ratio of Broadway to Off-Broadway in the shows I see.
Caveat: I’m a bit lazy about this terminology, so I listed nearly everything that isn’t Broadway as Off-Broadway. I’m not actually comfortable with this kind of categorization (I don’t think of BAM as Off-Broadway, or the Armory, or Queen of the Night). Perhaps it’s better to think of this chart as Broadway/Or Not.
Now I started wondering how much I spend on Broadway, vs. Off-Broadway. Interestingly, my average Broadway ticket costs me $31.05, while my average Off-Broadway (aka Other) ticket costs average out a bit higher at $34.56. Probably what skews that one is that my most expensive show of the year — Here Lies Love, which set me back $106.00, was an Off-Broadway show.
The final (and perhaps most important) chart: was all this worth it? The chart below illustrates my conclusions. For the most part, the answer was yes. I saw 38 shows that were worth it, and 13 shows that weren’t. If 74.5% of my theater expenses were worth it, and 25.5% were not worth it, that means I wasted $433.83 on theater this year.
Now that I’ve put all this into a spreadsheet, I’ll try and keep up with it over the months to come. This is a topic that I really should have saved for the end of the year, but as you can see, I can’t really control myself when it comes to charts.