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Brent Uberty
Pioneer Theatre Company presented Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” during its 2017-18 season.

SALT LAKE CITY — If you're a young theater nerd trying to save up your money by only attending the occasional show, Pioneer Theater Company has a deal for you.

A PTC press release stated that starting with the upcoming 2018-19 season, people 35 years old and younger can purchase a "7 Play Season Subscription" at a 50 percent discount. Main floor and Loge seating will ring in at $144 per subscription, instead of $288, and balcony seating will cost a mere $98.

For those wondering, that averages out to roughly $14-$20 a performance. And good news for those turning 36 this year — patrons just have to be 35 at the time of purchase.

Brent Uberty
"Mamma Mia" was presented by the Pioneer Theatre Company in its 2017-2018 season. This show was a wild one when actress Coleen Sexton, who played Donna Sheridan, broke her foot and had to finish the season in a medical boot.

PTC artistic director Karen Azenburg said the move is to "help (students and young adults) pursue theatre at a time when many are still building their homes and careers."

According to Azenburg, research has shown that people who attend theater as students and young adults often continue to support the arts throughout their lives.

"New audiences are the lifeblood of the arts," Azenberg said.

Marketing director Kirsten Park echoed this sentiment, adding that the company thinks "it's a good strategy to keep those interested patrons in the theater environment until they reach a more mature point in their career."

As PTC operates "in residence" at the university, this discount was previously available only to members of the University of Utah alumni association. Making it available to all patrons was a "long time coming," said Park.

Not only does the discount help out young people financially, but it holds a financial benefit for the company — according to Park, sustainability for the arts comes from season ticket holders, rather than those who pick and choose a few shows.

"We hope … to increase the number of young adults who normally might make a selection of three to four shows to go to throughout the season, put them more in the mindset of becoming a season ticket holder and establishing that habit as they move on," Park said.

Brent Uberty
Pioneer Theatre Company presented Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” during its 2017-18 season.

She suggested that some young patrons investing in season tickets now might hold their chosen theater seats indefinitely.

However, the subscription only applies to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night performances. Park said this is because those days of the week have a higher capacity for patrons. There is also a limit of two subscriptions per patron.

Park hopes that youngers audiences will find plenty in the upcoming 2018-19 season to grab their interest.

"We think that people who are experiencing theater … as a younger adult have a very open mind towards theater, but they also demand more current theater," Park said. "I think we have a season that's really well positioned to appeal to the 20 or 30 year old, who might not be as interested in the more established, classic musicals we see frequently in Salt Lake City."

The PTC 2018-19 season begins with "Oslo" by J.T. Rogers, which won the 2017 Tony Award for best play. It also features a regional premiere of "Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly," an imagined sequel to "Pride and Prejudice" that Park believes will resonate with young adults.

Fans of the FOX TV series "Empire" will be interested in PTC's production of the well-known historical drama "The Lion in Winter," which served as one of the inspirations for the TV musical drama.

Of course, that's not to say PTC won't also include some classics. The company will also present "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" and "Grease."

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For those still in need of a little convincing, Park said people may not realize they will be seeing the same actors they might see on Broadway. As an equity theater, PTC is obligated to hire equity actors who are working professionals, the same actors competing for jobs in New York City.

"As a young person, the only other option you have (for seeing these actors) is going to New York, and you can't touch usually one show for the price of a whole (Pioneer Theatre Company) season at this discount," Park said. "I would certainly do it if I was 35 or younger."