Broadway Roulette is New York City’s best-kept secret! With Broadway Roulette, all you do is pick a day, the number […]
Broadway Roulette is New York City’s best-kept secret! With Broadway Roulette, all you do is pick a day, the number of tickets you need, select your preferences, and the rest is taken care of! Choosing and paying for a Broadway show has never been easier!
Elizabeth Durand Streisand is the creative mastermind behind Broadway Roulette. As a New Yorker and an entertainment journalist, she knew most Broadway shows (once you remove the five biggest shows) have 25% of their seats sitting empty every single night. She decided to do something about it. Read on to discover what could be become a widely used app in your “Planning a Night Out” arsenal. You’re welcome.
**Interview has been condensed and edited
ID: Please tell us a little about you, your history and the genesis of Broadway Roulette.
EDS: People often ask, “What brought you to New York?” My answer: “New York!” And that’s really the truth. I moved here on my own, when I was 20, with a BA in English and no master plan because I thought New York was the greatest place on the planet (and I still do). Within a few years, I’d become one of the most prolific entertainment journalists in the city, covering movie premieres, charity events, and yes — Broadway openings. I was constantly blown away by how talented and hard-working everyone in the Broadway industry is and thought it was a shame that more people didn’t get to the theater more often.
Around that time, a friend came to visit who asked me to get her a ticket to “any musical that wasn’t Phantom [because she had already seen that] and was under $100.” She wanted to see a show while she was in town, but she didn’t have a specific show in mind. I realized there must be other people like her — and Broadway Roulette was born.
ID: Please explain in a little more detail what Broadway Roulette is and who it is for, what is the benefit to the average New Yorker and/or tourist?
EDS: Broadway Roulette is the fun and easy way to see a Broadway show (or several!). Users specify the date and number of tickets, a preference for a musical or play, and exclude up to six shows they’ve seen (or don’t want to see). On the day of the show, Broadway Roulette “spins the wheel” and sends them a great show that matches their criteria — all for a flat price of $49 weekdays and $59 weekends.
For New Yorkers: You pay a premium to live here *because* there are so many fabulous cultural events, restaurants, etc. within a mile of your door. But too often, you don’t have the energy to figure out something new to do, so even though you live in a city with a *bazillion* restaurants, you go to the one closest to your apartment and then you go home and binge-watch Netflix. I call this decision fatigue. We help you break free from that so you can start getting what you’re (already!) paying for.
For tourists: 1) You save time – Instead of spending the morning standing in line, you can go see something else in the city that you would have missed. 2) You can book up to 3 months in advance. (Good for “planners” like me!) 3) You will get a better seat for what you paid through our service than you would get on your own at the box office or online without any special discounts. 4) No one has to pick! – Because the show is a surprise, no one is “responsible” for picking the show, which takes the pressure off so you can all relax and enjoy it.
ID: The name Broadway Roulette – it’s genius! Did you come up with that?
EDS: Thank you! And yes! That’s my decade of writing headlines coming into play. I thought it sounded fun and would be easy for people to remember.
ID: I know you were a journalist before – for what publication? Did working/writing there have anything to do with the idea? If not, what was the seed for the idea?
EDS: Us Weekly, Yahoo, New York Daily News, Life & Style, Good Housekeeping, NY Post, MTV, and a few others I think still owe me money 🙂 There was a lot of hustle in that career, which prepared me well for launching a startup.
Yes, being knee-deep in NYC entertainment definitely helped! Specifically, I thought there was a real opportunity to bring new theatergoers into the mix who didn’t respond to (or even see!) the industry’s traditional marketing efforts. Going to the movies or to a Broadway show is often a social event. We do it in groups: with friends or parents or dates. People go see movies *all the time* that they didn’t pick or didn’t even want to see, just because someone else wants to go. Broadway is different. Everyone in the group is consulted — usually multiple times — about show choice, seat location, and price point, which creates a series of hurdles that you have to overcome to get into the theater. I thought if we could make seeing a Broadway show feel more like going to the movies by streamlining the process, more people would go more often.
ID: What do you like to do when you are not going to see a Broadway show? or a typical night out which doesn’t include a show?
Going to the restaurant closest to my apartment and binge-watching Netflix, of course! Also, hanging out with my almost-two-year-old son, who is objectively the greatest kid alive.
ID: Your favorite Broadway show ever? What Broadway soundtrack are you listening to?
EDS: Favorite Broadway show ever – Legally Blonde. I wore a pair of sweatpants that said “Omigod!” (a lyric from the show) across the butt all over the city with pride for like… a year.
Broadway soundtrack – The original cast recording of Spring Awakening.
ID: Do you have anything in place for someone who sees a show and is extremely unhappy with their selection?
EDS: Most people who are extremely unhappy with their show selection let us know *right away*. Our position is that we’re bummed to hear that they’re unhappy with the show *before* even seeing it. We are a discovery platform, but you can’t discover new things if you don’t give them a fair shot.
I compare it to dating: You have to get out there and date if you ever want to meet someone right for you. You have to actually go see shows to find those magical ones that touch your soul.
The official policy is – Do yourself a favor and give it a shot with an open mind. We encourage customers to go to the show they’ve received and let us know *after* what they thought. Most of the time, they end up pleasantly surprised. For the ones that don’t, we are usually able to wrangle tickets to something else down the road, but that’s not the official policy.
ID: Last question – random talent/fact about you that we would be surprised to know about you:
EDS: In my teens, I was an internationally competitive rhythmic gymnast (that sport with the ribbon dancing they made fun of in Old School).
Elizabeth, we are so grateful to you for creating Broadway Roulette and taking the time to answer our questions. I am sure many of our readers will become ardent users of Broadway Roulette, myself included!
Maybe next time you come up with Sharon, we’ll give it a try?
Glad to hear it!
Been very happy with the selections. Thanks
Great story and idea!