Sure you get a refund if an above-the-title star is out, but what about . . .

Although it’s not a publicized policy (and why isn’t it again?), if a star that is billed above-the-title in a Broadway show is out due to illness, vacation or a b.s. claim of mercury poisoning, a ticket holder is entitled to a full refund or exchange.

But in today’s social media-infused world, a chorus boy could have more twitter followers than an above-the-title star, and could have quite the die-hard fan girl following.  What happens when one of our avid Broadway theatergoers buys a ticket to a show to see that chorus boy, or that chorus girl, or a certain actor playing a secondary character, and that actor is out.  Do we offer them a refund?

No.  Or more appropriately . . . NEIN!

This isn’t a hypothetical situation, by the way.  I got an email recently from a young lady who bought tickets to see a certain Tony Award winning musical for the 4th time, just because she wanted to see a specific replacement actor in a small role – because she had followed him for years.  He was out, and she was out $140 smackeroos.  And this was a girl who had seen the show three times already!

Isn’t she the type we should be rewarding, not penalizing?

Why are we drawing the line above the title?  If you buy a ticket to see a specific element of that production and that element doesn’t appear, shouldn’t you get some recompense?

Ok, maybe you shouldn’t get a refund (our business, like our perishable inventory sister biz, the airline industry, might spring a leak with an open refund policy), but what’s the harm in an exchange?

Especially when you are not getting what you paid for?

Instead, it has been our policy to send the audience member home with a feeling of disappointment, or worse, the feeling of, “Next time I won’t buy my tickets in advance . . . I’ll just wait until the last minute to make sure everyone that I want to see is in the show that day.”

If any cast member is out, we should allow an exchange.

Wait a minute.  That’s not what I wanted to say at all.  Now that I think about it . . .

For any reason, whatsoever, we should allow an exchange.

The no refunds/no exchange policy is a thing of the 70s.  It’s time we join the rest of the best retailers in the world . . . and it’s time we lead the way in the entertainment industry (wouldn’t that be a change – us leading the way), and offer exchanges for our customers when they want one.

We ask them to risk so much when they buy that ticket.  It’s time we reduced that risk just a smidge.

And maybe they’ll reward us for buying more often . . . and more in advance.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.