Box Office Poison – Chita Rivera at the Shaw Theatre

Friday 19 October 2007

Chita Rivera is coming to town. Or is she? Who knows? She was supposed to be coming “for two weeks only” to the Wyndham’s Theatre in September but never turned up. Anyway, this isn’t about Chita and her unreliability.

Despite that previous debacle, Phil decided to purchase 10 tickets (the Whingers like to have five seats each so they have somewhere to put our coats, picnic baskets, wine cooler, typewriters, in trays etc) to see the no-show diva at the Shaw Theatre where she claims she will – allegedly – be appearing for three nights in February 2008.

So Phil went down to the phone box clutching his Filofax and a plastic bag of 10p pieces and called up the Shaw theatre only to discover that each ticket carried a 10% booking fee!

Now, this is a new one on us. We’re never short of things to moan about when it comes to ticket rip-offs – booking fees, transaction fees, handling fees, delivery charges (Andrew was once charged a “collection fee”), the attitude of box office staff (such as this and this) – but now they’re working in percentages.

So the cost of booking a full price £45 ticket will presumably be £4.50. For the early bookings, the tickets are £30 so the booking fee is £3 per ticket.

However, none of this may be true as the woman in the box office insisted to Phil that the 10% booking fee on each £30 ticket would be £2. But apparently she was very sweet about it all.

5 Responses to “Box Office Poison – Chita Rivera at the Shaw Theatre”

  1. Mark I (a wannabe whinger) Says:

    Unbe-f**king-believable!

  2. Phil (a west end whinger) Says:

    Phil also asked for a booking reference number.

    The “very sweet” woman: “It’s your post code”.
    Phil: “Oh, ok. So you don’t have a booking reference even though I’ve just paid £330?”
    “VS” woman: “Oh I do have one, do you want it?”

    Bet that cleaner wished she’d never picked up the phone.


  3. Whingers, a 15 August, 2007 story from Playbill had this to say:

    On Aug. 14 it was reported that the London debut of Chita Sings — an expanded version of Chita Rivera’s acclaimed cabaret act at Feinstein’s at the Regency — had been postponed.

    Tony Award winner Rivera had been scheduled to perform Chita Sings at the Wyndham’s Theatre Sept. 10-22. The show was to be produced by Keith Turnipseed as part of the American Songbook in London series.

    In a statement released Aug. 15, Rivera says, “I am very disappointed that my return to the West End in September has been postponed. I want all my fans in the UK to know that this was not my choice and beyond my control. I was so looking forward to returning to London, a city I adore, and I certainly hope that another date can be arranged in the near future. See you soon.”

    So sorry I did not pass it along earlier.


  4. Hmmm. The Shaw’s reopening presentation a couple of years ago was the notorious Oscar Wilde musical by Mike Read, which lasted for one night only. What’s usually forgotten is that this was not principally because it was a phenomenally awful show (although it was), but because the Shaw’s booking system was so friendly and efficient that second-night bookings for the 466-capacity venue totalled 5.

    They were supposed to be improving both on-site box-office and telephone bookings. Evidently they have. Really. But just a little.

  5. Webcowgirl Says:

    Okay, so I saw her picture in the paper, she is supposed to be coming to town in March or so. Is this really happening? (And sorry, I don’t remember the details. My brain is full today.)


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