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VIP Night On The Town - Ladue News: Arts & Entertainment

VIP Night On The Town

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Posted: Friday, October 7, 2011 9:56 am

Want to see The Adventures of Tom Sawyer from the front row? Or have use of a private entrance to see La Cage Aux Folles? We went in search of the best seats in the house—and VIP treatment to match.

The Fox Theatre

For a full-service experience at the U.S. Bank Broadway Series—or for box seats to almost 200 performances each year—The Fox Club provides the best of what The Fox Theatre has to offer, says director of sales and membership Cindy Vargo. “It is designed to enrich lives and bring entertainment to our members and guests,” she says.

Corporate membership to The Fox Club was introduced about 25 years ago, and includes a host of luxurious amenities. Among them are box seats to every performance throughout the calendar year (that’s almost 200 shows!), a convenient private entrance, access to pre-show dining opportunities, as well as in-seat service, and even private restrooms, Vargo says. But that’s just the beginning. A concierge provides personal service that is the Club’s hallmark, which could range from facilitating extra tickets to dining reservations.

Dining options include a full-service meal on the Grand Staircase, which features locally produced, seasonal appetizers and entrees from an award-winning chef. “We do it well and we do it big on the Grand Staircase,” Vargo says. “The staff also is smart about watching your time because we recognize dining is just the prelude to what you’re here for, which is the show.”

Another option is the Broadway Club membership, which includes premium seating in the first five rows at all six Broadway performances each season, Vargo notes. That comes along with a private entrance, VIP parking and access to pre-show dining in The Fox Club. Again, personal service is a priority, Vargo says. “We recognize our members are very busy and don’t always have time to stand in line for tickets, and they don’t want to miss their show if they can’t make it on their scheduled night. We can exchange them for another night of the run—our members love not feeling overly committed to a show that’s not coming for six months. They also can buy extra tickets if their party needs to grow in size, and have access to premium seating because of their membership status.” She adds that the renewal rate for this section is a high 91 percent—and for the first row, it’s almost 100 percent.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

“If someone comes and buys one $16 ticket, they’re a VIP,” says Lory Bowman, director of marketing at The Repertory Theatre. “We care about everyone going into the show.” But, she adds, those who visit more frequently or have more involvement do have access to more opportunities. Subscribers at The Rep get many perks that aren’t available for single-ticket holders. Among them are free priority parking, seating priority and a newsletter featuring inside information from artistic director Steven Woolf.

“Our theater is pretty intimate,” Bowman says. “The Mainstage is 650 feet, and the Studio is only 125 feet, so the seating options are very good. Certainly, one of the things we stress for our subscribers is that they get the best seats at the best price, with great benefits.” In addition to allowing subscribers to exchange tickets within the run of a show before their scheduled night, The Rep works with guests who missed their scheduled performance for one reason or another, Bowman notes. “That is a pretty rare benefit. If a subscriber misses their performance and later realizes, I was supposed to be at The Rep last night, they can come into a later performance with their expired tickets and the box office will work to get them into seats. The priority is to get those subscribers in, so they never miss a show.” Subscribers also are eligible for cost savings, such as a 10 percent discount for extra tickets and a 50 percent discount for last-minute purchases.

Guests can be sure they’ll never miss their show with dining options offered by Michael Brightman’s With Love Catering. Options include a Sunday brunch, pasta dinners on Tuesday and Sunday nights, and soup and sandwich buffet before Wednesday matinee shows. “You can make reservations for the special dinners, because they usually sell out a day or two in advance.” Lowman notes. “Michael is a phenomenal, accommodating host. He loves to welcome people into the lobby and knows many subscribers by name.” Through October, The Rep is offering VIP packages that include a Section 1 seat and either brunch or dinner on Sundays.

Since The Rep is a nonprofit, it offers extra benefits to its Spotlight Society, which includes high-level donors. Those amenities include special parking, a hotline directly to the box office, priority seating and access to unique events. “They’re events that money can’t buy,” Bowman says. “They’re opportunities to be part of the organization and have the backstage feel for events.” Spotlight benefactors also get the option of ‘passing on the gift of theater’ with 10 tickets to pass on to a charity of their choice.

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