Frontline workers will be able to attend a Broadway show for free after the coronavirus pandemic subsides with the help of TodayTix. The ticketing system unveiled a new initiative Tuesday called Save a Seat Fund, along with an optimistic rebranding to TomorrowTix.
Theater enthusiasts can give back to their neighborhood grocery store clerks, bus drivers and medical care workers by donating to TodayTix, which then goes toward funding Broadway seats once the Great White Way and international theaters reopen. With Broadway and the West End at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, TodayTix CEO Brian Fenty wanted the new rebranding of TodayTix to TomorrowTix to inspire creatives and theatergoers to look to the future, promising that theater will come back better than ever.
“TodayTix has curated a community of not only avid theatergoers, but casual theater lovers and people who just want a little culture in their life. In this crazy time and since this COVID crisis, the world of live events has suffered in such a huge way,” Fenty told Variety. “We really came up with this idea to rebrand TodayTix to TomorrowTix as a way of looking forward, as a way of knowing that while the world is changing, the one thing we can count on is that there will always be tomorrow.”
TodayTix started seven years ago and was first created to bring millennials to theaters by “taking the friction” out of buying tickets and working with stages across the globe, from the U.S. to Australia and London. On March 11, the company was struggling with stay-at-home procedures and finding ways for the system to adapt to the times. Fenty and his team decided that optimism through TomorrowTix and philanthropy through the Save a Seat Fund would give employees something to work on by giving back to the community of theater enthusiasts. The company is looking broadly at all types of frontline workers, verifying their credentials to obtain their donated seats.
“There are so many heroes now that are saving our lives every day and helping us,” said Fenty. “If there is a frontline hero that is putting their life on the lines to make our world and our economy and our health to continue to be front and center, we want to them to have a chance to engage in this.”
TodayTix collected enough money to launch the program on Tuesday with 1,000 donated seats. As of Tuesday, customers can now fund more seats for frontline workers to attend any given show when Broadway reopens its doors.
“Whether that’s at ‘Hamilton’ or ‘West Side Story’ or a provocative new play, whether it’s in London or New York or any of our markets, it’s just going to be an amazing experience to let these frontline heroes get to a theater, forget about life for awhile, enjoy, delight, and have a community experience,” said Fenty.
TodayTix also offers tickets to streamed musicals, something that Fenty said has been a successful platform as theater lovers are cooped up at home. Working with 1,500 theater partners, Fenty said performers and creatives have taken to streaming in order to broadcast their original content.
“It was sort of a no brainer that we could facilitate streaming,” said Fenty. “I have to say, it’s been a huge success. People are very interested in it and we’re making sure as part of TomorrowTix that streaming continues to be a part of how we all get our cultural fix in the coming months and quarters ahead.”
As for the future of Broadway, Fenty said producers are confident that their shows will return, but they don’t know when that will be. Ultimately, he said that he is proud that the industry is putting health and safety first instead of hastily resuming their shows.
“The future of Broadway, the future of theater, is such an unknown right now. I’m very proud of our industry in the fact that everyone’s health is coming first. People aren’t scrambling to get their show reopened early, they’re being very thoughtful about it,” said Fenty. “I think live events and large gatherings will probably be towards the last industries to come back which means there’s actually going to be more of a need for TomorrowTix as a concept.”
“It’s sort of ironic that in times like these, it’s actually when we need theater the most and we can’t have it the same way, so we really do have to wait until tomorrow to enjoy and experience together,” Fenty said. “This will be not for a rainy day, but for a much brighter day that we’ll get to send all of these people to these shows.”