What does April mean to you? Howling winds? College basketball’s Final Four? The Masters? To me it means it’s time to evaluate show prices. Every year the April issue of the Las Vegas Advisor calculates the current average cost of a ticket to see a Las Vegas production show. This year, we considered 89 shows. On rare occasions—four times in 24 years—the average goes down. Unfortunately, this was not one of those rare occasions: At $85.20, the average ticket price increased by $2.34 from last year.
Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint what causes the average to rise, but this year it’s attributable to a boom—specifically, the boom that took down the Clarion, which for years had the lowest-priced shows in town. Without those, the average had to rise.
Not that there aren’t other reasons for the increase. This year was similar to last in that prices for the most expensive shows mostly held the line, while the middle market logged moderate but significant increases, including: Evil Dead (up $5.50); Chippendales ($6.93), Raiding the Rock Vault ($7.91), Divas ($9.75), Marriage Can Be Murder ($11.73) and Jeff Civillico ($15.95).
Unchanged at the high end are Blue Man Group, David Copperfield, Donny & Marie, Human Nature, Jersey Boys, Jubilee, Le Rêve, The Beatles Love, Million Dollar Quartet, Mystère, Penn & Teller, Terry Fator, Vegas! the Show, Zarkana and Zumanity. Michael Jackson—One actually went down $3, and tickets for Criss Angel dropped $7.
Admittedly, the fact that ticket prices are as high as they are doesn’t mean too much. These are average prices, so you can almost always pay less by buying at the low end of the scale. And, as we all know, almost every show is being discounted in some way, whether by the half-price ticket outlets, from online discounters such as Goldstar.com or through online codes. Even “A” shows can be found at discounts if you stay alert for sales and locals specials. For example, locals who show an ID at the box office can get Legends in Concert tickets at the 1983 price of $9.95.
Where are the best bargains? This year’s least-expensive ticket is Mike Hammer Comedy Magic at Four Queens at $25.50, but several others are close. The following all have ticket prices below $40 after taxes and fees: Ja-Makin’-Me-Laugh at the D ($26.95), Laughternoon at the D ($27.40), Spirit of the King at Four Queens ($27.50), Gordie Brown at Golden Nugget ($31.45), Riviera Comedy Club ($36.99), Sexxy at Westgate ($38.90), and Lovers or Losers at the Plaza ($39.95). Get these at a discount, and you’ll catch a solid Vegas production for less than $20.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor.