"The Book of Mormon" will be staged at the Pantages. (Joan Marcus )
The hottest ticket on Broadway is far from the boiling point in Los Angeles -- at least so far.
"Book of Mormon" tickets can sell for nearly $500 at the box office on Broadway and are tough to find, while in Los Angeles plenty of seats are still available and the top ticket can be had for $175.
Partly that's because New York'sEugene O'NeillTheatre seats 1,100, while the Pantages Theatre can hold about 2,700.
In pricing for big tours of popular plays to cities like Los Angeles, demand and ticket prices go hand in hand.
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On Broadway, where there are fewer seats and higher demand, a premium seat is $477 for the musical from the creators of "South Park." A month after tickets went on sale for a 12-week run of the Tony winner at the Pantages, tickets are selling well but none of the performances has sold out completely.
Los Angeles' Pantages and Ahmanson theaters use "dynamic" ticket pricing, which allows prices to fluctuate. When demand skyrockets, dynamic pricing can result in sticker shock, as was the case with a touring production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" last year that saw tickets go as high as $300 at the Pantages, which has used dynamic pricing for its shows since 2007.
But "Mormon" has so far not used such pricing for L.A. Since going on sale in June, tickets have remained fixed in the $35 to $175 range.
Scott Rudin, the lead producer for the musical, was non-committal when asked if and when dynamic pricing for "Mormon" will kick in.
"We're looking at it very closely," he said in a recent interview. He said ticket prices are formulated using feedback from local presenting partners, which in the case of L.A. is Nederlander, the owner of the Pantages.
Weekday performances currently have the most availability while many weekend shows, especially matinees, have just a few seats left.
The top ticket price is higher than other current touring shows. "Memphis," coming to the Pantages later this summer, lists a top box-office price of $125."War Horse,"at the Ahmanson Theatre through July 29, is selling tickets as high as $165.
Previously, a production of "God of Carnage" with the A-list Broadway cast at the Ahmanson last year saw tickets rise to $200. The top tickets for "War Horse" at the Ahmanson started at $110 and have risen gradually in recent weeks to $165, according to Center Theatre Group.
"Mormon" will kick off its first national tour in August in Denver, a three-week run that sold out in less than a day. Denver's Ellie Caulkins Opera House has a seating capacity of approximately 2,200.
"Mormon" won nine Tony Awards in 2011, including best musical. The show, written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park," and Robert Lopez of "Avenue Q," tells the comical story of two Mormon missionaries who travel to a remote African village.
The musical features ribald songs and takes a comical approach to serious subjects, including AIDS, female circumcision and poverty. The touring cast will star Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner in the roles of the missionaries.
The 12-week engagement of "Mormon" is atypical for Los Angeles, but isn't a record. Most tours run for two or three weeks at the Pantages.
The theater's longest-running Broadway show was"The Lion King,"which stayed for more than two years. "Phantom of the Opera" ran for more than four years at the Ahmanson starting in 1989.
Producers of "Mormon" had considered bringing the tour to the Ahmanson but eventually opted for the Pantages. Rudin said seating capacity was a partial factor in the decision. The Pantages seats about 700 more than the Ahmanson.
There are some unknowns about the regional engagements of "Mormon." In Chicago, where the show is set to begin performances in December, producers have yet to finalize the length of the run.
(Tickets are on sale there for performances through March.)
This had led some to speculate that the Chicago engagement would be a sit-down production, which is an open-ended run.
When asked, Rudin said Chicago will be the start of a second national tour, with a new cast, but he declined to elaborate.
"Mormon" tickets for L.A. and Chicago are listed at roughly the same price range. In Denver, however, the top price is $125.
Tickets for the "Mormon" tour are already being sold on resale sites like Stubhub and Ticket Liquidator. For the Denver run, some of those tickets are selling for more than double the printed face value.
For L.A., third-party sites are currently offering "Mormon" tickets in the $1,000 range for the best seats.
Jeff Loeb, associate general manager at the Pantages, said "it's a shame when tickets are available from the primary source that people are drawing attention away from that."