Relatively close to showtime, tickets to Hamilton have sold for $2500 apiece. At $849, the top box office price is much less but still impossible to get.
Meanwhile, the highest box office price for Hello Dolly is $749, Aladdin, $228 and Lion King, is $225. But if you were willing to see a performance of Hello Dolly with Bette Midler’s understudy, the reseller’s price was $39.
Looking at ticket prices last year, we said that theater goers had to be lucky, famous, rich, or patient. While the same is true now, our economic destination will be different. Instead of supply side monopoly pricing, we will wind up with demand side elasticity.
Ticket Buyer Types
If you are in the lucky category, then one of the 46 first and second row $10 tickets could be yours. You just have to follow the rules for their digital lottery.
This lucky person got a pair of $10.00 “Hamilton” tickets:
In a list of the famous people who have seen “Hamilton,” we can include the Obamas, the Clintons, Paul McCartney, Dick Cheney, Busta Rhymes and Weird Al Yankovic. According to Marketplace.org, it is likely that the show’s PR person, Sam Rudy was their ticket source.
As for those of us who can spend more than our rent on two tickets, the equilibrium price for one has gone beyond $2,000 in secondary markets where brokers resell them with a supply and demand fueled markup.
And finally, for the patient among us, TimeOut says that tickets for November 7, 2017 through March 4, 2018 just became available. Otherwise the box office is sold out.
Our Bottom Line: Elasticity
When your show wins multiple Tony awards, you pretty much have monopoly status. As a result, you can charge different groups, different amounts. But who is willing and able to pay is another story.
An economist would say it all depends on the individual’s elasticity.
If price changes a lot and the quantity we buy remains almost the same, as with medication, then our demand is inelastic. By contrast, if price swings have a big impact on buying, then our response is elastic.
With Broadway shows, consumers who need to be lucky or patient have an elastic response to higher prices; when price ascends, they say, “No” or opt for the understudy. Only when prices are low do they stretch for more. Those in the inelastic group though, will buy no matter what.