Eight years ago, you couldn’t get a ticket to “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway. The show was sold out when it opened in March 2011, and continued that way for years. Tickets were routinely sold for $500 and up. I paid $250 for my crappy ticket opening week because the producer, Scott Rudin, refused to provide press seats. Why bother? “Mormon” was a runaway hit.
But those heady days appear to be over. Today, for the first time in memory, “The Book of Mormon” is being offered on a discount site, Stubhub.com, and not as a resale. For one night, May 11th, you can buy orchestra seats for just $99.
Things are worse than that. A quick random check of several dates through May, June, and July show that a lot of “Book of Mormon” seats are available at normal, if not discounted, prices. On June 22nd, almost the entire theater is unsold. I checked a random Tuesday in July, the 10th, on ticketmaster.com. Orchestra seats are available for $69.
It’s not like people are picking and choosing nights for “Book of Mormon” based on the cast. Even though the original cast boasted Josh Gad, Andrew Rannells, and Nikki M. James– who won awards and went on to big things– the current cast is composed of just Broadway regulars. (Talented regulars, I should add.)
For years, “Book of Mormon” was part of a trio of shows that included “The Lion King” and “Wicked” that were unstoppable at the box office. But now, while those shows continue to rake in $2 million a week, “Mormon” struggles to cross the $1 million mark. It’s missed it several times lately, which may be why Rudin is finally giving in to discount services.
There’s no question that “Book of Mormon” has made millions for everyone involved, paid back the investors, been a boon to “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. But it also may be true that everyone who wanted to see it, has. “The Lion King” and “Wicked” are family shows. “The Book of Mormon,” which sings about raping babies, is not. They may have finally exhausted their audience. It could be time for the curtain to come down and the movie version to arrive.
Meantime, if you’re coming to New York in August, don’t even worry about advance booking for “Mormon. On the 15th, the last night before New Yorkers leave town before Labor Day, just about the entire theater is available.