Theater Dept. Returns To Old Grasshopper Ticketing System

Getting tickets for Grasshopper Night, Phillips Academy’s annual variety show on Parents’ Weekend, is no longer just a mouse-click away. This year, students will return to the prior distribution and have to wait in line at the box office to acquire tickets. For the past two years, Grasshopper tickets have been distributed through an online lottery system. This weekend, tickets will be handed out in the Steinbach Lobby of George Washington Hall on a first-come, first-serve basis. Seniors will be given the opportunity to reserve tickets two hours before other students. Erin Strong, Head of the Department of Theatre and Dance, said that the suggestion she received the most was to give Seniors priority in obtaining tickets. “We thought that people should be able to see the show once in their four years here,” said Strong. “[Seniors getting priority] eliminates the risk that you would miss Grasshopper four years in a row,” said Scotty Fleming ’10. The lottery system put strains on Andover’s computer servers, which came close to crashing, said Strong. Annie Li ’10, one of the producers for Grasshopper Night, said that some students did not think the old lottery system was fair. “There were definitely conflicts. Parents came, and kids couldn’t get tickets just because of the click of a button,” said Li. Another issue with last year’s online lottery system was the large number of unclaimed tickets before the shows. “It’s a lot easier for people to just click a button. We think the people who really want the tickets will come out, wait on line and get them,” said Strong. Casey McQuillen ’11 said, “It’s good in the sense that people who are the most dedicated get tickets, but people also have to stand in line for a long time.” The Grasshopper Night coordinators are maintaining the three-ticket limit per student in order to distribute tickets more widely among all students. Strong said that she and Gael Phillips-Spence, Administrative Assistant for the Theatre Department, toyed with the idea of the Theatre Department creating its own lottery program. But Strong realized that the department does not have the ability to create its own lottery, and that another online lottery does not solve the problem of large numbers of tickets going unused. The Grasshopper Night coordinators realize that the system is not perfect. Strong admitted that some students might not get tickets. Students who do not get one of the 300 tickets allotted for each of the four showings on Parents’ Weekend can still wait in a standby line for tickets. Strong said that although the first Grasshopper show on Friday at 6:45 p.m. is usually filled to capacity, people tend to get off the waiting list for all other shows. “Come stand in the waiting line. You might have to stand, but you’ll get to see it,” said Strong. In making their decision to return to the waiting-line system, Strong and Phillips-Spence consulted students and faculty, including Mark Efinger, Instructor in Theater and Dance, and Faiyad Ahmad ’10, School President.