Behind the scenes, Act I with Play-by-Play

play by playOccasionally we’ll be taking readers behind the scenes of organizations or companies of interest (and benefit) to the avid theatergoer. Today a look at Play-by-Play.

Founded 15 years ago by Hugh Hayes, Play-by-Play is a papering company that puts “seat fillers” into the myriad seats that need filling for theatrical, musical, comedic … events throughout the city. Mr. Hayes has theater in his blood, having worked as a company manager and press agent. He is also a successful producer, with such shows as It’s Only a Play and Pippin and to his name. Papering companies are the answer to the plaintive question “How can I possibly afford to see everything that’s out there?” And they provide the industry with the answer to unsold seats. Members pay a fee to join Play-by-Play and then are able to access complimentary tickets for just a nominal processing fee. “I have an affinity for the audience and look at my role as a casting agent for the seat-filler,” Mr. Hayes says. He notes that when people go to the theater they go for an “event” and that a room with empty seats does not have “an electric feel.” Mr. Hayes also notes that he is not looking to prevent shows from selling tickets to customers. But he points out, “An empty seat has no value at all once a show has begun.”

With ticket prices increasing and so many cultural events available in New York City Mr. Hayes says that Play-by-Play affords its members the opportunity to see something they wouldn’t ordinarily know about or see. “This is one of the greatest joys in my job,” Mr. Hayes says. AFW (212) 868-7052

Single membership $99 w/$16 processing fee for 2+ tickets to events

Double membership $198 w/$24 processing fee for 4+ tickets to events

Most tickets are free except for a $4 processing fee

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