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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Selling Theater Seats That Don’t Exist

Posted by on March 21 at 17:53 PM

Scalping isn’t normally an issue for local theaters—nobody wants to see plays that badly. But at least a dozen websites have begun selling unauthorized tickets to ACT Theater’s upcoming production of The Pillowman. The tickets are going for almost double what ACT charges—and some of them are for seats that don’t exist. You can buy tickets in ACT’s 18th row on,,, and other web sites. “But the theater only has eight rows,” said Karen Bystrom of ACT’s marketing department. “You’d be sitting across the street in the Union Square Grill.”

The sites are also selling overpriced tickets (with actual seats) to Late Nite Catechism at ACT, various events at the Paramount, and Wonderful Town at the 5th Avenue. “That’s scalping!” Jennifer Rice of the 5th Avenue shouted when she saw the site. “Ticketmaster would kill us!” (Insert Ticketmaster-as-institutional-scalper joke here.) On checking with the ticket office, Rice discovered that the “scalped” tickets were still available for sale (as opposed to having been purchased for resale).

Only one theatergoer has come into ACT with a printed receipt for one of the non-existent seats. “We’re trying to get the word out,” said Bystrom. “To make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else.” ACT, the 5th Avenue, and the Paramount are continuing to investigate.

The sites selling nonexistent seats at ACT include:

CommentsRSS icon

The FBI would probably love to hear about this :P Or, at the least, the SPD.

No, Jen is absolutely correct. People have disappeared. Forever. Why do you think Paul needed to have that big slab of concrete & steel euphemistically called "the stadium" laid down just across the street from TM's offices?

well - that's another way to spread the word about your play.

In Chicago, we call Ticketmaster Ticketmobster. Or Ticketlegitimatebusinessman.

Um, I'm no fan of Ticketmaster, but they're not the bad guys here. For all their faults, the tickets they sell are real tickets. These 11 websites are actively engaging in fraud. The "tickets" they're selling AREN'T TICKETS.

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