By 5 p.m. Friday, the long line of people at Proctors to buy tickets for “The Book of Mormon” had dissipated. The few people remaining, most of them anyway, were disappointed with what was left.
Proctors CEO Philip Morris was happy with the fact that more than 7,000 tickets were sold Friday for the March 11-16 run of the 2011 Tony Award winner for Best Musical. What he wasn’t pleased with was that many Proctors patrons hoping to get tickets through the theater’s website were out of luck for much of the day.
While a line of more than 200 people greeted ticket sellers when Proctors opened the doors at 10 a.m. and operators were handling a large volume of phone calls at the same time, the website, http://proctors.org, crashed and remained down for more than two hours.
“I don’t know why our website crashed,” said Morris. “We’ve doubled the amount of bandwidth on the site, but doubling it is not necessarily enough. The site was down for about two hours, but it is up again and working perfectly. We’ve had this kind of volume for our big shows before, and our system is fine in terms of ticketing.”
That didn’t help Kevin Hannel of Schenectady, who tried to purchase tickets through the website soon after 10 Friday morning.
“I tried the website, and it just didn’t work,” said Hannel. “I should have called, but I did not.”
When Hannel and his wife showed up at the Proctors’ box office at 5 p.m. looking for three tickets, they were disappointed.
“I worked all day, so I couldn’t get down here until 5,” he said. “We just wanted three tickets together, but all they had was three single seats in three different spots.”
Some people trying to buy tickets through the website were led to the accounts of other customers.
“Yes, that happened, and we figured it out immediately,” said Morris. “People would see someone else’s name but not their account data. As the site was rebuilding, there were some errors, but no personal data was criss-crossed. When people saw a different account, it was just the other person’s name they were looking at.”
Those who showed up in person waited as long as two hours, while the typical wait by phone Friday afternoon was 30 minutes.
“My guess is we’re going to have very limited seating by Friday night,” Morris said earlier Friday afternoon.
Proctors posted a notice regarding their website troubles on its Facebook page shortly after 10 a.m. Friday.