jakub | April 17, 2024

AMERICAN THEATRE | Millennial Approaches

Audiences taking part in Roundabout Theatre Company's Hiptix program.

Gen Z has 86 percent less spending power than Boomers did in their 20s, according to ConsumerAffairs. So is it any surprise that age-based ticket discount programs have proliferated, with some theatres pushing the boundaries of who counts as a young audience member?

With the cost of living rising in New York City, Roundabout Theatre Company knows that selling discounted tickets is better than selling none—and that it can turn young professionals into lifelong theatregoers and donors. Their Hiptix program offers a pair of $30 tickets to members between the ages of 18 and 40, with some seats reserved for Hiptix participants at every performance.

At a mixer before a preview of Rachel Bonds’s Jonah in January, Hiptix members mingled and ate hors d’oeuvres, and one raffle winner snatched up tickets to the Museum of Broadway.

Age-based discount programs “definitely motivate me to go to more shows that I wouldn’t necessarily have checked out,” Debra Segal, a theatregoer in her 30s, said at her first Hiptix gathering. “I end up recommending them to lots of friends.”

Part of the appeal of living in New York for some culture vultures is the opportunity to see productions of all scales and sizes. While programs like Hiptix or Manhattan Theatre Club’s $30 Under 35 aren’t make-it-or-break-it for some patrons, they are for others who budget to see multiple shows each month. “If I didn’t have plans tomorrow, I would play the lottery,” Segal said, referring not to scratch-offs but to the Broadway lottery. “I’m a big theatre fan.”

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