Theater-goers eager to see the new "Harry Potter" play may be disappointed to learn the ticket prices appear to have been placed under an enlargement charm.
Resellers are selling tickets to the London stage production for as much as $10,700, even though the face value of the tickets is about $181, according to The Guardian. Getting tickets for "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2" through ordinary channels appears daunting, given that the show is sold out through December 2017.
The hugely inflated ticket prices for "Harry Potter" may make the frenzy over Broadway's "Hamilton" appear mild. Snaring tickets for "Hamilton' requires either luck -- such as scoring tickets through its daily in-person lottery -- or $2,000 to buy seats through a reseller. Yet deep-pocketed "Harry Potter" fans who pay thousands for resold tickets may be wasting their money, since the show's producers told the Guardian in a statement that people who buy resold tickets will be turned away at the door.
"We have already been able to identify, and refuse entry, to a significant number of people who purchased tickets through resale sites and will continue to track down touts and refuse entry to anyone who has knowingly bought a ticket from a tout through the secondary market," producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender said in the statement.
They added, "The secondary ticket market is an industry-wide plague, and one which we as producers take very seriously. Our priority is to protect all our customers and we are doing all we can to combat this issue."
Resale customers who are denied entry are given a "refusal of entry" letter, which can be used to ask for a refund from the resale sites, the Guardian said. Tickets to the show are currently being sold on sites such as Viagogo and Stubhub. Not all tickets are resold for thousands of dollars, however. Resellers are currently listing some tickets for as low as $223 on some mid-week dates.
The high price for resold tickets highlights how resellers are reaping small fortunes by snapping up tickets when they go on sale and then profiting by auctioning them at higher prices to theater fans. One economics professor estimated that resellers are earning annual profits of $12.5 million from "Hamilton" alone. That money isn't going to the show's producers or actors, while also making it tougher and more expensive for fans to gain entry to the production.
While "Harry Potter" fans may feel as if their chance to see the new play is quickly disapparating, there are still a few ways to snag tickets, although it helps to be lucky or live close enough to London to take advantage of last-minute seats.
The play's website advises fans to check frequently since it lists returned tickets and late-release tickets each day. It's also selling tickets for seats that were denied to people who bought via resellers. Lastly, there's the "Friday Forty," when the theater releases 40 tickets for the following week's performances at 1 p.m. each Friday. The Friday Forty are sold through an online site and cost about $52 for both shows.
Fans have a cheaper recourse: buy the book version of the play. Currently at the top of Amazon's best-seller list, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" sells for $17.98 on the retailer's site. It may not have the same magic as the play, however. The stage production opened to rave reviews, with the U.K.'s Telegraph calling it "a triumph." Some readers, though, have been disappointed by the book's script format, saying it doesn't recreate the magic of the original series.
As for theatergoers, they may receive some relief from lawmakers, given that there's increasing pressure both in New York and London for legislation to address the growing problem of resellers.