Maybe it's the weather, or perhaps the quality of the shows in town; whatever the reason, TICKETplace seems to be taking off. Last week, the half-price, nonprofit ticket booth in the shopping district sold 2,356 tickets--up from 1,529 the week before. The gross was around $23,000, of which approximately $20,000 went to various performing-arts groups after the deduction of service fees. These figures smash all records for any previous week.

Hot shows last week were "Morning's at Seven," the Joffrey Ballet and "Tomfoolery," all of which have now ended their runs. But there were also brisk sales for such continuing attractions as "Medea," "The Orphan's Revenge" and the National Symphony Orchestra. There seems to be a growing awareness in Washington that tickets for most shows can be purchased for half price on the day of performance at the handy downtown location. Most of the buyers are now asking for a specific show rather than "What do you have available."

It's largely a morning crowd. Last Saturday, some people brought chairs and were waiting in line an hour and a half before the booth opened, and even on weekdays there is sometimes a waiting line an hour before the opening. Unlike New Yorkers, who often come in to a similar facility almost at the last minute, most Washingtonians don't seem to realize yet that there are still quite a few tickets available in the late afternoon.