Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Give Bass Pass members transparency

Sharon Chang

When the curtains fly open, the lights fade and the crowd waits expectantly. In the next few seconds, audience members at Bass Concert Hall find themselves transported into stories a world away. Yet, for some, this escape can seem just as unattainable as the tall tales it brings to life. With the high costs of Broadway in Austin tickets, many can’t indulge in touring cast performances regularly. One UT program is working to provide an alternative.

The Bass Pass is a $25 program through Texas Performing Arts that gives students early access to tickets, discounts and more. The central draw for most students is the $10 tickets to Broadway in Austin shows, but only a limited number are available per show. While this restriction is disclosed on the website, many theater lovers are already having trouble getting access. Texas Performing Arts should inform potential Bass Pass members of the odds of getting $10 tickets.

Theater and dance freshman Nicole Chacko has had difficulty getting tickets this year and is worried about what accessibility would be like for more anticipated Broadway productions.

“With the ‘Book of Life,’ the Bass Passes go out really fast,” Chacko said. “It was a little stressful because the first show I wanted to go see I couldn’t get the ticket for, so I had to go to the other shows and mess around with it to see if I could get tickets.”

Tim Rogers, director of education and engagement at Texas Performing Arts, said that a variety of factors play into the limitation on ticket quantity, including negotiation on individual shows’ preferences on discount tickets and TPA covering the difference in ticket costs themselves. As a result, ticket allocations average 50 discounted tickets per night for three nights of a show’s run. However, on some occasions, the number of tickets offered can drop to 50 for a show’s entire run. 

“Sometimes, for the more popular shows, they go very quickly,” Rogers said. “As with anything else, if everyone wants to see something, it goes faster.”

The Bass Pass Program gives students the opportunity to get access to shows they may otherwise not get to see; that can be a once-in-a-lifetime chance that many students will only have while at UT. However, the reality is that despite the financial investment, getting access to tickets for popular shows at a lowered cost is not guaranteed.

Though tickets for “Six” and “Book of Mormon” sold out very quickly, TPA has said they will analyze ticket sales from shows earlier in the season and react accordingly. Rogers suggested capping the amount of new members as one possible solution.

“‘Six’ is probably the most popular show in our season this year, and so it went very fast,” Rogers said. “We won’t just infinitely sell as many as possible. That’s not our goal. We want to have an access point.”

Despite TPA’s commitment to access, the website should reflect the likelihood of student success when attempting to access tickets to highly anticipated shows. Students deserve to know what their money will result in, good or bad, and make the call for themselves.

Though statements acknowledging the lack of guaranteed success are present, TPA should provide data on the Bass Pass on its website. Students deserve to know how fast tickets were purchased, how many members tried to get them and how many discounted tickets were available, letting them make an informed decision. Increased transparency can only decrease frustration in the long run.

Doud is a journalism and government freshman from Conroe, Texas.

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