Free Night of Theater (2009)
October 3, 2009 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Stage plays for nothin'! If you live in or plan to visit one of the 120 American cities participating in Free Night of Theater, then log on, find a show, and get one of the free tickets before they're gone. Simple.

The list of shows ranges from standard children's repertory to the latest from Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

For most cities, tickets are now or soon will be available online. (San Francisco, for one, requires free theater goers to line up for tickets on October 14, first come first served.)
posted by Lesser Shrew (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It appears that the Portland shows are sold out. Is the site suggesting more tickets to be released later; say on the fourth, and so on?
posted by captainsohler at 12:48 PM on October 3, 2009

Nice. It's like ANLO without an age limit.

I wonder how it's funded. I had a look around, but it wasn't immediately obvious.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:49 PM on October 3, 2009

Thanks to this, I have 2 tickets to the new Christopher Durang. This totally made my October. Yay, and thank you.
posted by ltracey at 1:28 PM on October 3, 2009

Everything in St. Louis has been sold out for awhile
posted by hworth at 1:32 PM on October 3, 2009

DC's all sold out, which isn't too surprising. Sad tho!
posted by tittergrrl at 1:43 PM on October 3, 2009

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:54 PM on October 3, 2009

Dang, nothing in Michigan.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:55 PM on October 3, 2009

Well, it would've been nice to know about this several days ago. Most NYC shows are sold out. I'm even on their email list, but for some reason didn't get any advance notice.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:57 PM on October 3, 2009

Yeah, mostly sold out. For those of us willing to buy our own tickets, maybe we could organize local mefite theater nights.
posted by orthogonality at 2:10 PM on October 3, 2009

How many tickets were available per venue? Everything in my state is sold out, which seems surprising.
posted by pinky at 2:29 PM on October 3, 2009

The availability varied from event to event. On average, there were maybe 20 seats available. I had actually heard about it a week or so ago and was ready at 10:00am sharp when the NYC tickets were released. I managed to snag a pair of tickets to Two Unrelated Plays by David Mamet but the rest were snatched up within minutes.

A lot of the performances 'sold out' within the first hour, so I imagine that the rest didn't last longer than a day or two. As far as compensation goes, I'm guessing it was done pro bono with the added bonus of filling up the theatres and getting word out about the shows. Likewise, it seems that they only contributed a handful of seats for a few nights of their respective runs.
posted by focalmatter at 2:35 PM on October 3, 2009

Disappointed folks still looking for cheap theater may enjoy, which as far as I can tell is a place for venues to unload (presumably their worst) seats at half price. I've only used it once, but it seems to be real, and less sketchy than it looks.
posted by jhc at 3:06 PM on October 3, 2009

You say 120 cities? The pull-down menu has 35 possible selections. That's a far cry short of your advertised number of participating communities. What gives?
posted by hippybear at 3:32 PM on October 3, 2009

"Last fall, 650 theatre companies, in 120 cities from coast to coast, opened their doors to over 65,000 new theatergoers"

Odds are that a lot of the cities are in those major metropolitan areas. For example, the "San Francisco/Sacramento" dropdown probably includes SF, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, Sacramento, and a bunch of other cities in the area (Foster City, San Mateo, Emoryville, et al)
posted by focalmatter at 4:18 PM on October 3, 2009

Math is hard.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:19 PM on October 3, 2009

I'm the administrator for the South Florida region, which includes theatres in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach -- so that's how they got 120.

Here, our tickets were completely sold out almost within an hour of them being available to the public.

The whole point of the project is to bring new audiences into theatres, and according to the research that the Theatre Communications Group does (the national organizer for the event), it works. Over 80% of the people who attended Free Night last year went to a theatre that they had never been to before, and 41% of people who attended in South Florida went back and bought a ticket.

It is an annual event, so next year you can be online quick enough to get tickets. (Hopefully. Some people in Miami still weren't fast enough to get the show they wanted.)
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 5:19 PM on October 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I tried logging on at exactly 11:58 (two minutes before the tickets were supposed to be available here in DC) and kept trying until 12:25. The only tickets I was offered were for a show apparently called "Resource Unavailable".

Don't like complaining about something that's supposed to be free, but damn, you'd think they'd temporarily bump up their resources when they know there's going to be a huge online demand.
posted by inigo2 at 9:30 PM on October 3, 2009

Odds are that a lot of the cities are in those major metropolitan areas.

Definitely true in DC; included DC proper, plus a bunch of cities in VA and MD.
posted by inigo2 at 9:31 PM on October 3, 2009

Thanks for the insight, JustKeepSwimming. Like pinky, I wondered how many tickets were available per venue and wasn't able to get any useful answers from the back of the house people I know at a couple of participating theaters.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:42 AM on October 4, 2009

Got the last two tickets in North Carolina at the Playmakers Repertory Company! Thanks!
posted by duvatney at 10:46 AM on October 4, 2009

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