Pershing Square Helps Keep Theater Tickets Cheap

Jan 27 2012 | 11:18am ET

Pershing Square Capital Management's charitable foundation has given $25 million to a New York City theater as part of a plan to keep ticket prices down.

The Signature Theater—which will move into its new Pershing Square Signature Center on 42nd Street next week—will charge $25 per ticket for all productions for the next 10 years with the Pershing Square Foundation money. For 10 years after that, it pledged to hold ticket prices at accessible levels.

"I've never been interested in donating to cultural institutions where I'm subsidizing rich people," Pershing Square founder William Ackman told The New York Times. "That doesn't make much sense to me. Theater has not been my top priority, but what I love about this is that someone can go and have a great cultural experience for $25. There are very few such examples."

Ackman credited actor Edward Norton, who serves on the board of High Line Park with Ackman's wife, with pushing him to donate to the Signature. The company's new home was designed by star architect Frank Gehry and has three theaters.

"This is a game-changer for us, something hugely important to our long-term sustainability," founding artistic director James Houghton said. "We've made this dynamic new center, the first theater arts complex of this size in decades, but this ticket initiative is critical in that it provides access for everyone." And that includes Ackman, who has never been to a Signature production.

"I don't go" to the theater "enough," Ackman admitted. "Now, I'm going to go."

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