Freedom In Central Park Revisited

Two years ago I did an entry on the fact not all tickets at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park where the Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival are free as was widely believed. There had always been preferential seating available for some amount, but the article I cited in that entry mentioned that the Public was going to more widely publicize the pay program in an effort to balance the books.

My initial assumption was that this would bump the first patron who wasn’t paying back quite a few rows. Last week Robert Morse made a comment on that entry (scroll to the bottom) correcting my assumption. It turns out that the theatre has their crowd control pretty well organized and alternate paid and unpaid patrons in the even and odd rows.

The biggest benefit for paying for your tickets is that you don’t have to wait in line. This can be quite a boon since according to the Public Theater’s website, people apparently get online at 10 am to pick up tickets starting at 1 pm for an 8 pm show. They have line monitors present who enforce the no cutting, no holding spaces, no scalping rules and generally keep things organized. Recognizing an opportunity, apparently there are some local restaurants that will deliver to the line since the theater staff will provide you with that information.

My thanks to Robert Morse for correcting the information I originally had. Upon revisiting my original search, I found clarifying information that hadn’t been available before.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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