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‘Once on This Island’ adds Aruba trip to entice theatergoers

Seeing “Once on This Island” on Broadway can also mean taking a trip to Aruba. The show, which began previews on Nov.

The cast of 'Once on This Island.' (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Seeing “Once on This Island” on Broadway can also mean taking a trip to Aruba.

The show, which began previews on Nov. 9 at the Circle in the Square Theatre, is going a step beyond typical VIP ticket packages to offer experiential packages to theatergoers, with the top-priced package including a three-night stay in Aruba for $7,000. These packages are meant to tap into what producer Ken Davenport sees as a desire by theatergoers to expand entertainment beyond seeing a Broadway show.

“People are no longer looking to just go digest entertainment in one way,” Davenport said. “They want an experience.”

Other packages include a dinner and rum tasting, along with two tickets to the show, car service and a behind the scenes tour. Above that, at $3,500, is a package that includes a private Caribbean cooking class and rum tasting, as well as the show-related offerings of the lower-priced package.

In the past, Davenport says he has offered more typical VIP packages for his off-Broadway shows, such as backstage tours with “Altar Boyz” and a bachelorette package with “The Awesome 80s Prom.” But in speaking with audience members, he says he has seen an increasing desire to do more.

The show itself put the packages together, with a travel agent helping out with the Aruba package, Davenport said. The reason the show chose to do it on its own, rather than contracting out to a third-party service, was because Davenport felt he would be able to do it faster on his own, he said.

“Once on This Island” has had less than week of preview performances and Davenport said the show has not sold any of the packages yet. But he noted that he has received inquiries about them and that buying these packages takes more planning than a typical night out on Broadway.

Across the six performances recorded last week, “Once on This Island” brought in $381,170, or 64% of its gross potential, at 100.7% capacity.

The average paid admission was $90.63, which comes after Davenport set a “best-price guarantee” for the show. That guarantee, which Davenport has said is the first for a Broadway show, means that the show promises to offer the cheapest ticket available. If a customer finds a cheaper ticket, the show will match it and discount it a further 10%.