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Plaza Suite, Broadway 2023
Photo: Joan Marcus

The top ticket price for Sarah Jessica Parker’s West End play is £395

It’s quite a lot more than a full Glastonbury festival ticket

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski

Okay, Sarah Jessica Parker and husband Matthew Broderick were never going to bring their smash Broadway comedy ‘Plaza Suite’ to the West End out of the simple goodness of their hearts. They are glamorous celebrities who undoubtedly deserve some compensation for setting up shop in London during January and February. They probably need paying at Broadway rates, which are about three times higher than what the West End pays. Nonetheless, eyebrows have been more than raised at the show’s top price tickets, which will set you back a walloping £395.

The main point in mitigation is that this does come with a load of extra stuff: three glasses of champagne, a dessert board, an ice cream and a programme (it’s also only available at the weekend, with a slightly less fancy £350 package replacing it in the week). Contrast this to 2021’s hit revival of Mike Bartett’s ‘Cock’, which charged £450 a ticket with no bonus booze – although it’s worth saying ‘Cock’ prices were slashed in response to the outcry and it’s not clear if anyone paid the top rate, meaning ‘Plaza Suite’ may be the record holder in terms of what people have actually paid. 

Still, what if you just want to see the play? There is no option not to buy those seats without the package, but there do seem to be just eight of them per show, with the majority of stall tickets going for a still pretty hefty £300 (in fact £95 for three glasses of champagne and some snacks is… not horrible in a West End theatre).

There are two things happening here, basically.

One, there’s clearly a massive premium to see big star Sarah Jessica Parker. Though it should be stressed that tickets start from a modest £25, ‘Plaza Suite’ top prices are well above the average cost of the West End: a recent survey by industry newspaper The Stage indicated that the average top price ticket costs £141.37.

Two, there seems to be a trend towards the premium-ising of the West End experience. Although you’ve long been able to score deals that include the odd glass of fizz, ‘Plaza Suite’ is much redolent of musical hit ‘Cabaret’, which offers dining options for almost identical prices (it tops out at £375).

Is this the future of West End ticket prices? The fact it’s over double the average top West End ticket indicates probably not, as does the fact that a load of extras are thrown in to justify the charge. If ‘Phantom of the Opera’ started charging this much it would probably find itself in real trouble. But while relatively few £395 tickets seem to have been sold, the £300 ones would appear to be flying, so plenty of people obviously think it’s fair enough: it may well be SJP’s only ever UK stage appearance, and in the age of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour we’re all basically totally unmoored from any sense of what a reasonable price to pay for anything is anyway. 

Is this the future of standard West End ticket pricing? No. Is this the future of premium pricing for limited run and celebrity-driven shows? …Probably.

‘Plaza Suite’ is at the Savoy Theatre Jan 15-Mar 31. Buy tickets – at a range of prices! – here.

The best new London theatre shows to book for in 2023 and 2024.

ICYMI: the National Theatre is giving away thousands of free tickets.

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