‘Book of Mormon’ ticket sales crash Kennedy Center site again

March 14, 2013

Update: Per the Kennedy Center Facebook page, "Tickets to The Book of Mormon are no longer available for the Kennedy Center engagement." 

It's a big week for the religious crowd. Yesterday, Francis was plucked from House of Cards Argentina and declared, via smoke signals, the new Pope. Mazel tov, Francis! And over at the Kennedy Center, where mega-popular musical "Book of Mormon" will make its Washington debut this summer, what the KC is calling "unprecedented" demand for tickets is sending its Web site into a tailspin.


Charles Sykes/AP - The Eugene O'Neill Theatre and the marquee for “The Book of Mormon” in New York.

Perhaps you are thinking, "Wait, didn't this just happen two weeks ago?" You would be correct! Tickets for Kennedy Center members went on sale Feb. 27; thousands of patrons trying to log on to the site wound up stuck in a "waiting room," even if they weren't attempting to buy tickets at all. The Web site crashed and stayed in a state of semi-accessible -- sometimes totally down for the count, other times with a waiting room blocking entry to the homepage -- for two days.

A special sale for American Express cardholders, on March 6, went smoothly, said spokesperson John Dow.

"We did everything that was possible to do in a two-week time frame" to improve the ticket-buying experience on the Web site, Dow said. "Our IT folks tripled the number of servers in one part of the system, they worked on the waiting rooms to add more capacity." Still, with demand "in the high tens of thousands" this morning, the Web site crashed under the pressure and has not fully recovered. The "waiting room" screen still pops up before the homepage can even load.

According to Dow, there were thousands of tickets available this morning. "It is probable that it will sell out by the end of the day or early tomorrow." A limit of four tickets per purchase is still in effect. Our advice is to call the box office at 202-467-4600. Better yet, take a field trip and go to the box office in person. And then there’s the three-pronged approach: Waiting on the phone while queuing up the site on your mobile device on the bus ride to Foggy Bottom.

If you miss out this time around, Dow added, don't lose hope! "People sometimes turn in their tickets, so people should check closer to the performance date for last minute availability." But also, patience, grasshoppers: "That’s something for July and not for now."

Though the Kennedy Center "continuously update[s] our infrastructure," Dow said, there are no plans to make any major changes to the ticket purchasing system. "I do know that they’re looking forward into the season that we just announced, and there isn't anything like 'Book of Mormon.' When we talk about this show we’re using words like 'unprecedented' or 'historic'... [we don't] expect there to be a show that has this significant demand."

Rough day, Kennedy Center. But as Gretchen Wieners from "Mean Girls" once said:

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