KUHF 88.7 houston public radio interview (npr)
Houston Firm Offers Half-Price Tickets to Local Theater Productions
23 June 2008
by: Ed Mayberry
Tougher economic times have cut into entertainment budgets, and that's affected attendance for stage productions. A Houston company is helping those unsold seats, as Ed Mayberry reports.
The concept is similar to selling unsold seats on airlines or unbooked rooms in hotels, as Expedia and Priceline have been doing for years. Houston-based StubDog.com is helping fill seats for local stage productions. Sam Levassar is the founder of StubDog.
"StubDog.com works with local events, and we help them sell seats that they think would normally remain empty. The way that StubDog makes money is we add a small service charge on to the tickets."
It's the same as buying half-price tickets for shows in London's West End, or cut-rate tickets for unsold seats in New York theaters.
"We're very similar to — if you're familiar with TKTS in New York City that sells extra seats for Broadway shows — StubDog.com does the same thing, but we also sell tickets not only for theater, but for dance, comedy shows, family fun events, music and a variety of other events going on in Houston."
Levassar formed StubDog.com in Houston, but the concept is growing.
"My partner and I both grew up in Houston. We started in Houston because we both love the city and we think that it's got a fantastic arts community that's there, that people need to tap into. We then launched in Dallas, and we launched out in Los Angeles about six months ago."
Levassar is a local actor, and wants to see more attendance in Houston theaters.
"As an actor, I performed a lot of shows to less than full houses. So we tried to come up with an idea that we were putting on great theater, but we wanted to fill those seats."
Ed Mayberry, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.