So at first this was intended to be a “rant” blog about today’s news out of Nederlander Theater. The official RENT (the musical) website announced that the show is no longer closing on June 1st (this was previously announced eariler in the year). After the purely emotional reaction passed, I decided this post should be a lesson on how not to treat loyal fans.
Let me state that I am a HUGE Rent fan. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the play, but it’s an obscene amount. I own memorabilia, I own recordings, I’ve spent hours typing away at message forums, etc. Typically, hearing this type of news would over joy me, but I can’t help but wonder if there an alterior motive all along.
See, the day Rent closing was announced, I, like many other Rent fans, scrambled to get tickets for closing day (6/1). I didn’t care HOW much money I paid, I just had to see the last performance. Naturally, I was not alone in this and Nederlander and Ticketmaster.com were flooded with ticket orders. I was unable to score final performance tickets (8p show), but I was able to get into the matinee on 6/1, which was good enough.
I paid $125 a ticket (purchased 2 tickets) because at THAT announcment time, there were no promotional codes available. Being an avid Rent fan, again, I did NOT complain. One day later, an official email from the Rent site was distributed with special discount codes so $100 tickets were now $50-60 tickets. I overlooked it, a bit angry, but still overlooked it. I figured, being a fan, the price I paid was a final investment in supporting a show that I loved dearly and a show that I thought loved me back.
That brings us to today – when they’ve announced an extension. The site does state that if you purchased tickets prior to 3/15 specifically for the “closing show on 6/1” you can exchange them for the new closing date. However, you are not guaranteed same seat locations – so there is a change you can get better or (most likely) worse seats than you are currently holding. Ridiculous.
Ultimately, the decision to close the show was a result of slowish ticket sales compounded by that lenghty stage-hand strike last fall. However, I found out while speaking with Nederlander associates and Ticketmaster agents when purchasing orginal closing tickets, that the closing announcement resulted in a spike in sales. A spike in sales obviously enabled them to extend the show’s run and perhaps give them hope to keep it open.
Essetially, it’s just one giant game engineered by show producers, investors, etc. and they are using loyal fans (like myself) as pawns. See, they knew the show was closing on 6/1. They made the announcment, but then waited until the following day to distribute discount codes. Wrong. So, not only did you profit by taking adventage of those loyal fans who rushed out to purchase tickets, but then they changed the closing date and created a headache of an exchange process.
It’s somewhat comical to me that a show that’s identity was built by a core group of followers and not really motivated by money would, in turn, go against their core just to profit. Sadly, it’s a business and it has one goal: to make money. Businesses want loyalty from consumers, but shouldn’t that be a two way street? I think so. And as a consumer, a loyal consumer, I’m tired of being taken advantage of.