Sunday, May 26, 2024

Broadway: $8,500 for Hugh Jackman in “The Music Man”? Scalpers and Resellers Have Hijacked New Musical


Want a ticket to see Hugh Jackman in “The Music Man” this winter?


The Scott Rudin-produced musical has been hijacked by scalpers.

Set to begin previews in December and open in February, “The Music Man” — also starring Sutton Foster — is going to become a template for greed in the history of the Great White Way. Not even Rudin’s production of “Hello, Dolly!” with Bette Midler was this avaricious.

So far you can only buy tickets for “The Music Man” on reseller sites like StubHub or Vivid Seats or SeatGeek. There are none available from December 2020 through July 2022 on Telecharge, the site that sells most seats to most Broadway shows.

On Stubhub, a pair of tickets in Row F for January 2, 2022 are going for $8,485.05. That includes a service fee of $1,505.  For that much money, I would expect Jackman and Foster to come clean my house for a week, repaint the garage, and babysit the kids every night while singing about Trouble in River City.

For that much money you could see 20 other Broadway shows including the revival of “Company” and the excellent “Girl from the North Country,” have dinner each time at the Palm, and still rent the classic movie of  “The Music Man” with Robert Preston for a week.

StubHub does offer financing through Affirm, if you want to spread the payments out. But I’d rather buy a decent used car for that much money, not sit through an old show starring Wolverine. Or maybe just buy groceries for a year.

Just think of it. For eighty-five hundred dollars you could own not 76 trombones, but five really good ones. And you could donate them to music schools and get a tax deduction.

And since you’re thinking it, thirty years ago Richard Gere only paid Julia Roberts $3,000 to sleep with him and be arm candy for a weekend in “Pretty Woman.” With inflation, Gere would have to pay $6,187 now — still far less than two tickets to “The Music Man.” You still might be able to get three days of sex and two balcony seats.

The producers of “The Music Man” — Rudin has supposedly stepped away, but he’s lurking in the background — have allowed ticket scalpers to play this game, basically insulting New Yorkers and tourists who might have enjoyed this show. When Jackman reads this he should be horrified. There’s simply no excuse for it except greed.

And these prices I quoted for January are no anomaly. They’re the norm through for months on end, and at every site, not just StubHub. And the prices will go higher once the show opens on February 10, 2022. The New York Times and other outlets will be drooling all over the stars, who are very talented, raving about the production. That should send prices even higher out of reach of the one-percenters.

Will it matter at that point whether you’ve seen “The Music Man”? Probably not. Once the Tony Awards come and go in June, the original cast will exit. Like other Rudin shows, replacements will come in and prices will drop. And almost all the time that happens, you get a better show.

You know, the whole point of “The Music Man” is that Harold Hill is a con man. So maybe that’s the point here.

You can watch a production of “The Music Man” on YouTube with Matthew Broderick and Kristen Chenoweth. For free. Right here. Or just skip to the big number below with Robert Preston.






Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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