A subscription plan for Broadway

Producers offer deal for three new shows

Broadway producers have worked out a subscription offer for three of this season’s plays, hawking one ticket to each of three shows — “August: Osage County,” “The Homecoming” and “November” — for a total of $199.

Commercial producers have long toyed with the idea of a subscription series, the hallmark of nonprofit theaters, but they’ve usually been thwarted by logistical complications, such as disparate production teams and irregular producing skeds.

All three plays taking part in the new initiative count Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel (“Spring Awakening,” “Talk Radio,” “Glengarry Glen Ross”) among their lead producers.

Subscription reps a bid to drum up biz in an unusually competitive fall season packed with a dozen straight-play openings. The recent stagehands strike made the crowded market even tougher, with the 19-day shutdown draining sales and word of mouth momentum for new shows.

Compared with the aud for musicals, playgoers make up a relatively small but loyal segment of Broadway ticket buyers whom the subscription hopes to attract with a reduced pricetag. Individually, each production sells a full-price seat for about $99; the $199 offer of three prime ducats (in the orchestra and front mezzanine) essentially adds up to a three-for-two deal.

Consumers can select dates for each show they will attend either online (thanks in part to an arrangement with Broadway ticket seller Telecharge) or by phone.

Subscription slate includes two new plays — “August,” Tracy Letts’ family drama that scored critical raves and strong B.O. after it opened Dec. 4, and “November,” a new comedy from David Mamet that stars Nathan Lane and begins perfs Dec. 20 — and a Joe Mantello-helmed revival of Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming,” toplined by Ian McShane and opening Dec. 16.

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