Friday, January 22, 2010


By Ali K. Owens, Marketing and Promotions Coordinator

Beginning work with a new company can be a daunting endeavor for any recent graduate.

I began work at Broadway/L.A. exactly 3 months ago. It is hard to believe the amount of work that has been accomplished and the knowledge I have absorbed over this hectic time. There is not a day that goes by that was anything like the last. Working for a theatre company, which hosts some of the most noteworthy Broadway shows in one of the most legendary Hollywood venues, is an absolute dream come true. It was almost like I asked my fairy godmother “please give me a job in Broadway,” and POOF she gave me the perfect position in the best theatre in town.

Marketing and Promotions Coordinator. The term alone gives you a hint into my everyday responsibilities. But, as I mentioned before, no day is similar to the last. Each day I walk into the office, hearing the quick typing of my ‘already been working for 3 hours’ colleague Benny and the always-productive conversations of ‘my boss’ Wayne. I must admit walking into a work dynamic with two men who have solidly carried the Marketing Department of Broadway/L.A. for the past 6 years was a bit intimidating. Thanks to my fairy godmother, she granted me two of the most helpful men on earth. I am never afraid to ask questions, and I always ask before I act.

The first show I worked on was “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.” The day I begin, the show’s opening was 3 weeks away. The first day, Benny and I worked on editing and proofreading the Playbill. My second day I was introduced to all of our trade advertising partners, and I began to put together booking schedules. On my third day, I began requesting and negotiating radio promotions. And by the end of the week I had organized and categorized every loose Playbill, tear sheet, and season brochure stashed in the office. If you can imagine all of this happening in one week, just imagine sitting in a STOMP marketing meeting where you brainstorm 450 other promotions to put on your ‘to do’ list! While the task may seem overwhelming, the challenge has proven to be invigorating and rewarding. Who wants to do the same thing everyday? Not I.

With shows coming and going and people continuously flowing through the theatre with smiling faces, I know I have found a great community at Broadway/L.A. The best present I got this year was my desk completely wrapped in wrapping paper and a card that said ‘Welcome home! ’ I have found it is not always about what you do for work, but the people with whom you work. For this reason, I am thankful to be amongst the best in the business. The individuals who work for Broadway/L.A. are truly the best and most experienced at what they do. With the economic climate being in a state of recession, I know I am one of the few and far between who can say I got my dream job straight out of college.

Friday, January 15, 2010


by Stephen Benson, Pantages Box Office Treasurer

Show time at the box office is exciting and stressful at the same time. From the program sellers barking for your attention in the outer lobby, ushers directing you toward you seats, the occasional live sidewalk entertainment in front and other theatre patrons enjoying conversation in the lobby, there is a lot to see and do before the show even begins.

From time to time (for a myriad of reasons) there are issues with tickets. With all the noise and excitement, it can be stressful to arrive at the theatre to find a ticketing issue just before curtain.

Problem solving is my favorite part of my job. This must sound odd. After all, why would anyone consider a stressful situation enjoyable? I do, but it’s not the stress -- it’s getting to the core of the issue to find the solution to the problem.

In the customers mind, there are usually three stress factors to any ticketing issue in the customers mind:

Time – Will the box office resolve the issue before the show starts?

Money – Will the solution cost money?

Admittance – Are there seats available to solve the issue?

Once you pinpoint the particular stress trigger, I reassure the customer that we WILL resolve this issue, and the mood changes and process becomes easier.

The most common issue is a patron who’s simply left the tickets at home, (or the restaurant, or the office, or in the other bag, or on the moon). That’s an easy problem to fix … at least once we know where the tickets were purchased. That would seem like an easy bit of information to obtain.

You would be surprised how challenging this question can be.

The biggest issues I have to solve relate to stolen or fraudulent tickets. Most of the time these tickets are sold on the internet by “brokers.” A search on for Pantages lists 2,300,000 listings.

Only 2 of these are legitimate:

If you’re reading this, please absorb that information!

This past summer, an unscrupulous broker used a stolen credit card to purchase several sets of tickets to one of our shows. He photo copied the same ticket several times and sold them on He would not take credit cards, but instead told his customers to meet him in the parking lots of malls or fast food stores with cash to complete the transaction and pick up the tickets.

Is it just me, or does meeting a stranger in a parking lot with several hundred dollars cash in hand sound like a bad idea all the way around?

Unfortunately several of out customers chose to buy their tickets through this broker, and of course the tickets were rejected by our scanners at the theatre door. We had to work really hard to accommodate these customers on this sold-out show, but in the end it all worked out and everyone left happy.

The moral to my story is:

Meeting strangers in a dark alley with cash is probably a bad idea, but visiting your local box office to support the arts in Los Angles is a good idea!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


by Lesli Bandy, Broadway/L.A. Season Services Manager

In all my years in the ticketing field, I have come to realize that every ticket manager and director I have met all started their careers on the “front lines.” They become mangers and directors because they’ve been through the experience of helping customers face-to-face and working with that initial level of questions or problems that all events have with tickets. If you think about it, there is no specialized class or schooling you can go to become a ticket seller. It’s all experienced based. And, I would bet they all have a unique story as to how they got their first job.

My first job in ticketing started from a series of events. I credit it to taking my dog out for a sunset walk on the beach. That day, I met a chatty guy and we talked about our dogs, and I then learned he worked for the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Stadium. I was still in school and in between part-time jobs, so he told me to come to the stadium the next day after class and he would introduce me to the Director of the “Compadres Crew,” their Fan Rewards Program.

After starting a position there, it didn’t take long to meet a group of roaming Suite Representatives from the Chargers, the pro football team that shares use of Qualcomm. Meeting them led to a position as a Customer Service Rep in the Chargers Season Ticket Office, which was my first job in ticketing. I still work for them now, helping out on busy game days, and I wouldn’t be writing this blog had not met that chatty guy while walking my dog, or met the roaming suite representative during the games, or worked with all the football fans who needed help with their tickets at the box office.

As you might imagine, working with Broadway shows is vastly different than baseball or football, but ticketing is easily translatable. If you can understand the details of tickets -- how they relate to each other and the customer -- then you can understand ticketing in any venue. And I enjoy that detail. It poses many challenges in all its confusing complexities, but for the most part, by the time tickets reach the customer the complex process appears surprisingly simplified.

That’s the mystery of ticketing, and maybe it is so because those who are in the position to direct and manage the tickets once worked on the front lines. And if you ever find the need to call the customer service line or approach the box office window, it might just be one of those directors or managers assisting you, since occasionally we still like remembering where we started.