Letter: Make live theater more accessible, affordable

On Thursday, I attended one of the sold-out performances of ISU Theatre’s production of “Les Miserables.” The show was, in my opinion, more enjoyable than the last touring production of “Les Miz” that I saw. We are a lucky university to have the students, staff and facilities to do justice to such a blockbuster favorite. It was a fitting celebration of 100 years of ISU Theatre, and also of the spirit of Veishea.

Perhaps even more exciting than the show was the number of young people in attendance. Most of the audience had not been born when “Les Miz” hit Broadway.

Why does it take a household-name musical to get students to flock to the theatre? What barrier did the popularity of this show overcome? My guesses: convenience and money.

In the age of Amazon, Netflix, and iTunes instant rentals, getting an advance ticket to any show at the Iowa State Center is a painful process. The box office is only open during times when most people who aren’t retired have daily commitments, like class and work. Additionally, the only way tickets are close to affordable for students is using the student price, which requires the presence of every student who wants to sit together, or at least their IDs.

Of course, the solution for the modern student is to buy online, but financially, that turns out to be even worse. My recent experiences have shown no way to purchase a student ticket online and the online handling fees are outrageous. For a student, purchasing online can easily be twice as expensive as purchasing in person.

The university and the Iowa State Center need to figure out a better, more affordable way for students to attend live theater, especially that is presented by university organizations in the university’s facilities.