Can a New App Get Millennial Angelenos to the Theater?
Live theater is great. It's visceral, sexy, nerve-racking, but for some reason getting younger people to embrace the stage has been a tall order.
The new-to-L.A. ticketing app TodayTix — it's already functional in New York, Chicago, London, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. — hopes to change that by making ticket buying easier and, on occasion, cheaper.
According to TodayTix's stats, millennials account for only 28 percent of Broadway ticket sales; the average Broadway theatergoer is 44. The company didn't provide L.A.-specific statistics but offered that 91 percent of people currently using the app — upward of 1 million — reported that they're seeing more theater now.
The key, they say, is convenience as well as a lottery system that offers tickets at a deep discount and, basically, on demand from a mobile device.
The first show TodayTix is pushing is Jesse Eisenberg's The Revisionist, running at the Wallis from March 29 through April 17. For every performance, $20 tickets will be available through the lottery system. Basically, you sign up and wait to hear via push notification within three to four hours of curtain whether you've won tickets, which can then be retrieved from a concierge at the theater. Other last-minute, cheap-ticket sites exist, but the idea is to make the process even more mobile-friendly.
An Eisenberg-penned play could be a decent draw for younger people who otherwise wouldn't spend an evening at the theater, but what about smaller productions at smaller theaters that don't have a Hollywood-actor playwright attached?
The app apparently doesn't discriminate against more modest productions. According to a spokesperson, TodayTix takes "a small commission from purchases made through the app to cover credit card fees and internal business costs. That commission is applied democratically to theaters of all sizes."
Will an app result in a surge of theatergoing among young people? Who knows. But for people who already love theater, cheap tickets can't be a bad thing.
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