Our Grab Your Group & GO Theater Group will be celebrating our 5th year in January. At some point I will go and count up and list all of the shows we have seen as a group, but today is not that day. The list will be a LONG and FUN walk down the lane of the Great White Way.
This theater group was originally created to inspire more New Yorkers to go to the theater on a more regular basis (ie not just when Aunt Millie was in town). It remains that, but has become something even better. We now seek to connect people through the value of the shared experience. Whether at the theater, on Walk & Talks or at other interesting and compelling group experiences, this is what we strive for each time we bring a group together.
What was not my intention was to become a ticket broker or “ticket lady” as some like to call me. Or my favorite term, coined by my friend Tim, “The Breaking Bad of Broadway”. But here we are and, as people seem to really be enjoying the experience, here we shall remain.
What is it about the experience of attending a GYGG event/procuring a ticket from us that people enjoy? Let’s unpack this two ways – on the front end of learning about a show and deciding to join (the procurement) and on the back end of attending the show (the experience).
1. We take our show picks very seriously. We are fortunate to live in a city where there is an abundance – perhaps an overwhelming amount even – of live theater. At GYGG, we cull through the newspapers, the internet and word of mouth to look for the shows that we think will appeal to the group. Truth: the list is heavily tilted to what I want to see, but this is thanks to the aforementioned research. I am a target market composite of the group, more often than not it works.
When given the opportunity, I will see a show to preview it for the group. The preview is why I felt so strongly about Beetlejuice (and still do – I LOVE BEETLEJUICE). #savebeetlejuice
It is also why the group is going to see The Sound Inside in January, but will NOT be ducking in to see Slava’s Snow Show (though if you love clowns you and your group should go). As rabid theater consumers, we will also let you know when a show we think you should see comes out, even if we cannot obtain group tickets to said show… like – aggressive throat-clearing – freestyle love supreme.
2. The “promotion of the show” or show spotlights. Here we strive to offer honest, authentic, and distilled representations of why you might want to join for a show. We recognize that some folks are self-described “play people” and others are “musical theater fanatics only” and a whole host of us love both. As one friend said, “You make it seem like every show is a must see.” She is right. If the show has made the list, I have deemed it a must see for me – but show choices are personal – pick only what you think you must see. I wish more people had seen Linda Vista – my favorite play of the fall, but the play that received the least amount of sign ups. Hmm…
3. We work hard to make the process of the ticket purchase as easy as possible. We have a crackerjack date team scattered about the city (and Bronxville) who scour the proposed dates for any school-wide or community events that might make it difficult for you to attend. The process of the click-through is about a one minute transaction vs. the multi step process (with that annoying captcha) via any other ticket source. The one downside here is you lose control of where you are sitting, but we believe the upside makes up for this (more on this topic later).
So easy is this process and generally reliable are our show offerings that my friend said “I think I’ve forgotten how to order a ticket any way but from you.” 🙂 After you click through please make sure you receive a confirmation email (an important check to make sure no steps were missed), then you are set to see the show you have selected.
To regale you with the benefits of the GYGG theater experience, let’s flip the story a bit and examine what your favorite broker/Telecharge/today tix/show-score will not do on the back end of your ticket procurement…
1. Telecharge will not send you an email about a week (+/-) to remind you about your show AND invite you for a meal before the show. (A meal that is geographically well located to the theater that will include a bunch of super fun fellow theater goers that you will enjoy having dinner with so much that the dinner might be your most favorite part of the evening).
2. Should a problem arise with your evening at the theater, telecharge will not remind you about past dating (where you can use your unused ticket on another night). And if this is not a possibility, telecharge will not help you find a good home for your rescue ticket. Often we are able to find a buyer. Or if not a buyer, then a really good and worthy and appreciative gift recipient (a common occurrence on day of show situations) of your rescue ticket. See what I did there? Rescue ticket? (Snuck in a dog reference).
3. Telecharge will not meet you at the theater with a thematically festooned ticket envelope, a welcoming smile and a pre-show hug. This might be my favorite part as it is an opportunity to albeit briefly connect with all of you. The side bonus is the convivial vibe of these moments, as surprise encounters occur, complete with gleeful noises and lots of hugging on the side. Friendly New Yorkers at our finest.
4. Telecharge will not sit you with your friends and they certainly won’t sit you next to someone you should be friends with (yes we strive to do friend matchmaking and have experienced great success with this). We try to be super thoughtful about the clusters we put together.
Lately we’ve noticed that the theater likes to park us on the sides or even pepper us inconveniently around the theater – we are fighting back on this front and are expecting – politely demanding – better allocations in 2020. We are pretty scrappy so we are hoping for concomitant results.
That said, I have now sat all over theaters (I try to take the worst ticket in every batch – this annoys my daughter to no end) and have been pretty impressed with the site lines from all of the seats. But still I want, and am fighting the good fight for, better seats for the group.
5. Telecharge will not stay with you if the show is a bust and everyone else leaves. This doesn’t happen very often – maybe only once, thank you King Lear. If you want to stay to see a show and everyone else has left, I will stay with you.
6. Telecharge will not look for you at intermission to see how you’re doing and sneak in a quick visit. (This step can get compromised due to the length of the restroom line. 🙂 But we have fun waiting in line too as the group collectively waits our turn).
7. Telecharge will not park outside the theater after the show for a sidewalk talk to hear your thoughts on the show and possibly take your picture underneath the marquis. This too is a favorite part of mine. There are the social aspects sure, but I also get a quick download on the group’s general stance on the show which I often weave into mine. This way blog readers are not just getting my world view on a specific show, but a vetted cross group representation. The recent post on freestyle love supreme and our trip to the National Geographic Ocean Encounter are good examples of this). Nor will telecharge invite you for a tipple talk at a local watering hole if the timing for a show allows or demands.
8. Telecharge will not see you on the streets of NYC over the next few days and chat with you regarding the show and your specific experience. (Sidewalk talks after shows are another favorite thing of mine such that it gives us the opportunity to discuss and mull over our shared experience).
9. Telecharge will not invite you on a weekly Walk & Talk or send you emails with vetted lists of shows that telecharge thinks you will like (a new service we are offering as the big general emails can get lost in the email inbox sauce). Group members want to know exactly what I think they should see, so I am doing one off curated lists as a new feature in 2020.
Bottomline: Telecharge could give two hoots about what you see on Broadway/Off Broadway or around town. They just want to sell you a ticket.
At GYGG, we care deeply about the choices we make and we are participants in these choices. We are not just a ticket fulfillment service – we are nowhere close to a ticket fulfillment service – we are an experience fulfillment service. Grab Your Group and GO!