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All the World's a Stage, If You Can Afford the Seat in the Wyly Theater

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A good Friend of Unfair Park named Bob J. yesterday noted in the comments section to this little-commented-upon item that, well, the Dallas Theater Center's not playing fair with folks looking for seats in the DTC's under-construction home at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. Notes our Friend, who's been a DTC subscriber since 1973, "Priority seating is apparently based pretty much on how much you contribute" to the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. "So much for being a loyal subscriber all these years." His complete detailed complaint follows after the jump.

Jacob Cigainero, DTC's public relations manager, told Unfair Park today that there is a "seating campaign" under way, but said he didn't know much beyond that. He referred our query to marketing director Melinda Nelson, who was on her way into a meeting and unable to chat; Cigainero said he'll have her call back later. But as our own Elaine Liner points out, the theater -- which has about 600 seats, as opposed to the current 450 -- is so "adaptable" that there "won't be one seat that's that much better than another." And, as Elaine mentioned in April, newly installed artistic director Kevin Moriarty is a man of the people. Of course, Bob, maybe you're just not rich enough? --Robert Wilonsky

Update: Bob, looks like you're right. Cigainero called back to explain how this seating thing will work, and, yes, it's a points-based system in which contributions made to the Dallas Theater Center count far more than dollars spent on subscriptions. Jump with me to see if this makes any sense.

As Cigainero explains, would-be ticket subscribers in the Wyly Theater are given 10 points for every 10 dollars spent on ticket subscriptions dating back to 1998, but no further. That's when DTC began keeping digital records of subscribers. Which, yes, punishes longtime subscribers like our Friend Bob, who's a 35-year-subscriber but will see 25 of those years washed away like they never happened.

And this will only further infuriating longtime subscribers: Twenty points will be given to subscribers for every 10 dollars given in contributions -- which, yes, means you can buy your way to the front of the line. Because beginning in October, folks with 100,000 points or more -- otherwise known as Group 1 -- will be able to pick out the seats in the Wyly. After they're done, Group 2 -- consisting of folks with between 99,999 and 40,000 points -- will get to choose their seats. And so on and so forth. Bob, a subscriber for 35 years, is all the way back in Group 6. Out of seven.

"But everyone will get comparable seats in the new theater to what they have now," the DTC spokesman says. "This lets them move up if they're not pleased with their current seats or if they want to choose to a new seat."

Which, again, will come as small consolation to folks like Bob, as you will note below.

Gives me a chance to complain about the DTC seating plans for the new downtown theater. Priority seating is apparently based pretty much on how much you contribute.

As a subscriber, we were told the length of our history as a subscriber would be considered in assigning seats in the new theater as well as other factors. Apparently the other factors are the most important.

After subscribing since 1973--the first year season tickets were sold under Paul Baker -- 35 years -- we've been notified that we'll be allowed to choose seats in group 6 -- that's out of 7 groups.

HOWEVER, if we want to give $$ to the DTC this year we can get moved up! So much for being a loyal subscriber all these years.

After inquiring, we were told that the priority was only based on subscriptions since 2000. Thanks a lot, DTC!

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