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ABT Fall 2019 NY season


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8 minutes ago, California said:

If you have ordered tickets (which went on sale on-line Monday) and have not yet received your print-at-home tickets, it seems their system is broken. Write to customercare@davidkochtheater.com with your e-mail receipt and they'll either hold your tickets at the box office or mail them through US mail.

Considering the amount they charge per ticket for handling fees, this is very disturbing.

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

Considering the amount they charge per ticket for handling fees, this is very disturbing.

Looking at my own e-mail receipt for documentation - I don't remember an "ABT Costume Restoration Fee" before. 

DHKT Facility Fee : @$4  
DHKT Service Fee : @$8  
ABT Costume Restoration Fee :

  @$2

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31 minutes ago, California said:

I don't remember an "ABT Costume Restoration Fee" before.

Yeah, that's a new one.

I feel like that's actually more annoying than if they just raised the ticket prices two dollars and put that money toward the same thing — but maybe their marketing research tells them I'm in the minority.

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All those add-on fees are really annoying, and I would find it hard to believe that market research tells them otherwise. Why don't they just fold the fees into the cost of the ticket? Is there some reason anyone knows that they can't, or don't, do this? (Not just ABT doing this, I know.)

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There is also a set restoration fee tacked onto ABT Met tickets.

Depending on the performance and method of purchase, ticket fees may be applied to your order.

For performances at the David H. Koch Theater, there is a facility fee and a costume restoration fee for all tickets and a per ticket handling fee for orders made online or through the call center.

For performances at the Met Opera House, there is an ABT set restoration fee for every Single Ticket purchase and a per ticket handling fee for orders made online or through the call center.

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I don’t begrudge them the costs. I know they need the money. What I find annoying and deceptive is the way it’s structured, with mandatory per-ticket fees. Do they think customers won’t notice these add-ons?

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It is all about the marketing.  If you look at most ad campaigns, you'll see some version of a price spread, or another indicator about the lowest entry point ("tickets $X - $XXX" or "tickets starting as low as $X).  In the same way that most gasoline is listed at #X.99/gallon, the person selling the item, whether it's fuel or fouettes, wants to give the impression that the lowest price is indeed low.

The price of a ticket, even with all the handling, facility, costume/set, mandatory donation fees, still does not cover the cost of the performance.  Each one of these fees is carefully calibrated to avoid making you turn away.  You're offended, but you're still buying.

In Seattle, Ticketmaster is generally held in low repute for what people see as excessive handling fees.  They've managed to ameliorate some of this by running a box office at one of their theaters -- if you can get downtown to buy your ticket, rather than buying online, you can get some of the handling fees eliminated.  In fact, getting there can be very tricky, but it makes people feel like they have an option.

Also in Seattle, many restaurants tried recently to fold the service fee into the bill, rather than leaving tipping to the discretion of the diner.  Some restaurants just raised the prices of the actual food, while others added on a separate line for service fee.  It was a highly controversial process, with all kinds of results, depending on the restaurant (as you might imagine, fine dining places got less pushback than places that are usually known for low costs) and the strategies that they used to explain this to their customers.  People are still sorting through this -- it's a big topic of conversation.

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15 hours ago, abatt said:

Costume restoration fee?!!!  What will they think of next.  Pointe shoe fee?  There comes a point at which we all have to say enough. 

Maybe we can all chip in $2.50 for McKenzie’s retirement fund.

Let the one-percenters contribute to ABT’s costume fund. Don’t force every ticket-buyer to make a donation. 

Unless a company owns its own venue and/or ticketing system, it reaps no financial benefit from facility and ticketing fees (in ABT’s case, that money would go to the Koch and the Met). But I guess ABT wanted in on the action and instituted its own dedicated fee. I’ve NEVER heard of any organization doing what ABT is doing. It belongs on a worst practices in fundraising list.

Im seriously considering not buying a ticket for the fall season. As @abatt says, enough is enough.

 

Edited by fondoffouettes
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18 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Maybe we can all chip in $2.50 for McKenzie’s retirement fund.

 

I'd chip in $12.50 or even $20.50 for that.  For the extra confetti fund to celebrate the arrival of new management the company so desperately needs.

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1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

 I’ve NEVER heard of any organization doing what ABT is doing. It belongs on a worst practices in fundraising list.

Im seriously considering not buying a ticket for the fall season. As @abatt days, enough is enough.

 

They may be first, but I sincerely doubt they will be the last.

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McKenzie needs to go before the company is run so far into the ground that it can’t recoup. There may be others in top management who also need to go. Don’t they see from the half empty theater and the barebone male principal roster that something is very wrong? Adding a costume fee is foolishness. They need to be building good will, not destroying it. These sorts of charges are like regressive taxation in that they are borne in the same amount by expensive and cheap ticket holders. But in the end the costume fee, while indicative of their problems, is actually the least of them. There are other more urgent ones.

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And fees aside, I also find their programming choices for the fall truly shocking if they're trying to fill the house. Remember how terribly the season sold last fall???? The T&V/ New Tharp/ Ratmansky Seasons program sounds great... probably the only one I'll attend... but WHY bring back the poorly received Lang and Dorrance works and slap them onto the same program as the premiere by Gemma Bond, who is a very new choreographer and can't possibly have built up a huge following yet. Shouldn't she have the benefit of sharing a program with something well established and popular? (like what NYCB does for Lauren Lovette's work, for example). I don't understand the reasoning here. The fact that it's an "all-women program" isn't on its own a huge selling point, but maybe management is that tone-deaf? And while T&V and Apollo are great, people in NYC don't need flock en masse to ABT for Balanchine when we have NYCB performing year-round. 

Edited by JuliaJ
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15 minutes ago, JuliaJ said:

while T&V and Apollo are great, people in NYC don't need flock en masse to ABT for Balanchine when we have NYCB performing year-round. 

ABT’s  performance in 2017 of Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux was cringeworthy and the Mozartiana they did the same season was off the mark. I think Cornejo may have wanted to do Apollo, I think he will do well, and I plan to be there. But two Balanchines? I agree they are tone-deaf. And they have a major vision problem. 

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25 minutes ago, JuliaJ said:

WHY bring back the poorly received Lang and Dorrance works and slap them onto the same program as the premiere by Gemma Bond, who is a very new choreographer and can't possibly have built up a huge following yet. 

Per her biography, Bond began choreographing in 2010. For comparison, Justin Peck began his choreographic career in 2009.

I'm not saying Bond's choreography is as strong as Peck's, or that her career matches his for buzz. luster, and opportunity, but they've been pursuing their craft for about the same length of time. She's not as new as Lauren Lovette or Gianna Reisen.

I do agree that the fall season might have benefited from better programming.

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1 minute ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I do agree that the fall season might have benefited from better programming.

I can't recall a recent ABT fall season when this hasn't been said by numerous people on here (including myself).

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8 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I can't recall a recent ABT fall season when this hasn't been said by numerous people on here (including myself).

And the shame of it is that The Theater Formerly Known as State is the perfect venue to showcase some of their "heritage" treasures, e.g. Tudor (20 ballets in the rep) or deMille (14 ballets in the rep). Not to mention Ashton (13 ballets in the rep).

I really don't have a problem with ABT tackling Balanchine. T&V is rightly in their repertory since Balanchine choreographed it for them in 1947. (NYCB didn't perform it until 1960.) As far as I'm concerned, ABT has as much right to dance Apollo as NYCB has to dance La Sylphide. Balanchine is like Bournonville at this point: a signature choreographer who needn't (and shouldn't) be the property of one company. In any event, ABT isn't going to get better at dancing Balanchine unless they, you know, actually dance Balanchine. 

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I've been to lots of galas where there is a disclosed mandatory contribution as part of the ticket price, but that contribution has always been TAX DEDUCTIBLE.  Your ticket comes with another piece of paper telling you the contribution portion for tax purposes.  What ABT is doing is forcing a charitable contribution, but not providing the customer with the option or the documentation to take it as a tax deduction.  Is this even legal?  Anyone with some spare time should write to the New York State AG's office  to inquire whether this is legal.

Edited by abatt
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8 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I really don't have a problem with ABT tackling Balanchine. T&V is rightly in their repertory since Balanchine choreographed it for them in 1947. (NYCB didn't perform it until 1960.) As far as I'm concerned, ABT has as much right to dance Apollo as NYCB has to dance La Sylphide. Balanchine is like Bournonville at this point: a signature choreographer who needn't (and shouldn't) be the property of one company. In any event, ABT isn't going to get better at dancing Balanchine unless they, you know, actually dance Balanchine. 

I completely agree. Apollo and Theme and Variations — along with the return of Ratmansky's The Seasons — are the most welcome parts of the season, as far as I'm concerned. I've said here before that I'd rather see Balanchine imperfectly (or even quite far from perfectly) danced than a lot of other stuff, and T&V is a particular favorite. Bring it on. I also appreciate having the opportunity of seeing Apollo in its fuller (and IMO much superior) form.

Speaking of Ashton, I was recently watching his Scènes de Ballet on DVD. I'd love to see ABT (and especially Sarah Lane, perhaps?) dance that.

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17 minutes ago, abatt said:

What ABT is doing is forcing a charitable contribution, but not providing the customer with the option or the documentation to take it as a tax deduction.  Is this even legal?  Anyone with some spare time should write to the New York State AG's office  to inquire whether this is legal.

Well, they're not forcing a charitable contribution — on the one hand no one is being forced to purchase the tickets, and on the other hand I'm not sure the fee would have to be categorized as a charitable contribution in the legal sense — so I imagine that, yes, it is legal.

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Thanks for recommending the program of T&V, new Tharp, and The Seasons. If I go at all—depending on the casting—it will be to this program. A heads up to anyone who wants to wait for casting announcements before buying tickets and is not familiar with the Koch Theater: You can see well from just about anywhere in the orchestra—no need to rush in for prime priced tickets. 

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2 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

And the shame of it is that The Theater Formerly Known as State is the perfect venue to showcase some of their "heritage" treasures, e.g. Tudor (20 ballets in the rep) or deMille (14 ballets in the rep). Not to mention Ashton (13 ballets in the rep).

I really don't have a problem with ABT tackling Balanchine. T&V is rightly in their repertory since Balanchine choreographed it for them in 1947. (NYCB didn't perform it until 1960.) As far as I'm concerned, ABT has as much right to dance Apollo as NYCB has to dance La Sylphide. Balanchine is like Bournonville at this point: a signature choreographer who needn't (and shouldn't) be the property of one company. In any event, ABT isn't going to get better at dancing Balanchine unless they, you know, actually dance Balanchine. 

Agree, of course they have a right.  Too bad they don’t have the caliber of dancers they had for the premiere of Theme and Variations (relative to the respective time periods). Sure they might get better with practice but I would rather not watch and pay for the practice period. And as you said in your first paragraph, there are many other ballets which could have been programmed and would have made better use of the limited run. My guess is that ABT is so out of it they actually think programming Balanchine in NY will increase their audience. 

But I agree with others rhat many of the other ballets they are doing are less appealing. I am also very much looking forward to Seasons! 

Edited by Olga
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Just now, Olga said:

 

Agree, of course they have a right.  Too bad they don’t have the caliber of dancers they had for the premiere of Theme and Variations (relative to the respective time periods). Sure they might get better with practice but I would rather not watch and pay for the practice period. And as you said in your first paragraph, there are many other ballets which could have been programmed and would have made better use of the limited run. 

Well, you would certainly have every right not to buy tickets for programs with Balanchine on them. And although I'd like to see some Tudor, deMille, or Ashton, I'm not going to begrudge Cornejo an Apollo (if he's in fact getting one). In any event, doing more Tudor doesn't mean they can't do some Balanchine too. But they have to pick their Balanchine carefully, of course. 

I do think that there are some ABT dancers on the roster right now who could do justice to at least a few of the Balanchine ballets in ABT's rep if they were given the challenge of learning and performing the right roles. For instance, I think the current roster might yield a couple of creditable casts for Ballo della Regina. (It would help if ABT could bring itself to abandon the seniority system when it comes to casting. I'd be perfectly delighted with the opportunity to see what Skylar Brandt could do with Ballo. If the company needed to find something or Hee Seo to do, they could always program Ashton's A Month in the Country, which suits her gifts very nicely.) 

And I don't consider performing something new or unfamiliar "practice"; the best dancers deepen their artistry the more they do something. Watching that process can be its own reward.

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29 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

 I'm not going to begrudge Cornejo an Apollo (if he's in fact getting one).

 

I plan on going to see Cornejo as Apollo if he is cast, but I think he is too short for the role.

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