The hottest ticket in Buffalo isn't for a Sabres' game or Dave Matthews' annual visit to Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.
Rather, it is for the stage debut of the popular Broadway musical, "The Book of Mormon," which hits Shea's Performing Arts Center in June. Tickets for the week-long performance sold out in less than one hour and almost immediately online sources were listing skyrocketing prices for the show.
Consider that the tickets had a face value of $32.50 to $87.50, yet as of Wednesday afternoon, on StubHub, some choice location seats were selling for $799.99. Craig'slist had single seats going for $200 each.
"I'm not surprised it sold out that quickly," said Anthony Conte, Shea's president and chief executive officer. "It has been selling out everywhere."
As for the astronomic rise in prices, Conte has two thoughts - one practical and the other cautionary.
"Those prices? That's absurd," he said.
Conte advises buyers to make sure any tickets bought through secondary, online sources are legitimate. Counterfeiters are notorious in the sports and entertainment business for selling phony tickets for hot-selling shows. Despite Shea's best efforts, it has happened in the past.
"You have to be very careful," Conte warns. "We can't control the secondary market and what happens out there."
People with counterfeit tickets will not be allowed into the theater.
The 3,019-seat Shea's has 13,000 season ticket holders. Collectively for the eight-show "Book of Mormon" run, there were approximately 24,000 available tickets. Taking out the season ticket holders, that left Shea's with just 9,000 seats to sell for the musical.
That is why Conte said people should be extra careful, especially if they think they are buying prime seats - ones that typically are sold to season ticket holders.
"Remember, we can seat 3,019 people in the theater, not 3,020 or 3,021," Conte said.