Inside the PCMS Box Office

By Brian Potter on October 10, 2011

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes in our box office, or how your online order actually turns into tickets? Allow me to pull back the curtain a little bit and walk you through the ticketing process here at PCMS.

When you buy tickets online, the order comes to us almost immediately through our e-commerce system, which sends you an e-mail confirmation at the same time that it notifies us of your purchase. Since Brad and I check e-mail pretty much constantly, we are usually processing your order within minutes.

The most important part of the process involves selecting seats for your chosen concert(s). Before doing so, we check your account for information on your seating preferences. Perhaps you have permanent seats for another series, have special needs, or have simply told us in the past that you prefer to sit in balconies or aisle seats or the last row of the top balcony. If you're a new ticket buyer or a patron without a clear seating pattern, we simply allocate the best seats available.

Of course many patrons prefer to choose their seats themselves. This is easily done by calling or stopping by our box office, located at 1616 Walnut Street, Suite 1600. Brad and I are always happy to show you our actual seating charts and help you weigh the pros and cons of the available seats. Besides the good music, convivial conversation and occasional baked goods you'll find at the box office, another bonus of buying your tickets in person is that you save the $2 handling fee (to which phone and online orders are subject). You'll still have to pay the Kimmel Center surcharge, but every little bit helps, right?

Regardless of how you purchase your tickets, we enter every order into our Choice Ticketing system and have "Lester", our trusty ticket printer, print out your tickets. Voila , they're in your hands or the mail within minutes.

Want to get even more out of your concert experience? Here are some ticket-buying tips to help you take advantage of all that PCMS has to offer.

1. Our exchange policy. Find that your plans have changed and you can no longer attend a concert? Provided you contact us before noon the day of a concert, we'll happily exchange your tickets for any other PCMS event this season (subject to availability). If you're not ready to choose another concert, we can always put the tickets on "open account" so you can call in and use them in the future.

2. Sold out concerts. As of the date of this blog post (October 7th), we still have tickets available for all concerts, but seating is quite limited for some. We're down to the last 50 tickets or so for the Emerson Quartet on October 21st, and we have just a few more than that for pianist Richard Goode's recital on November 10th. The Piano Series as a whole has become extremely popular in recent years, so I always recommend getting tickets for those recitals as soon as possible, especially if you like to have a view of the keyboard. Another hot ticket this winter will be guitarist Pepe Romero's recital on January 20th at the Perelman Theater. Good seats still remain for that one, but I'm expecting a deluge of interest in the coming months. If you want to see this guitar legend up close and personal, rather than from the second balcony, now's the time to order.

3. Waiting lists. When concerts sell out, we maintain a waiting list that we work from if and when more tickets become available. Again, tickets are often returned in the days before a concert -- it's not uncommon to have, say, 10 pairs of  tickets exchanged even for our biggest name artists. Hey, people's plans change, and those who can be flexible with their plans are often rewarded with beautiful, last minute seats.

4. Upgrade lists. We also maintain upgrade lists for patrons whose ideal seats may not be available at the time of purchase. Often tickets are exchanged in the days leading up to a concert, and if and when that happens, we offer them to the next patron on the upgrade list. More often than not, we are able to improve your seat location with just a little bit of time and patience. Don't hesitate to have us add your name to the list if you are at all apprehensive about the available options at the time of purchase.

5. When ordering online, use the "Comments" section. We are currently exploring ways to offer real-time seat selection on our website without having to raise our ticket prices in the process. Until we can do that, the "Comments" section is the best way to tell us what kind of seat you like without having to e-mail or pick up the phone. I always encourage patrons ordering online to be as detailed as possible with their requests. Don't think of it as a bother; we really enjoy putting patrons in the perfect seat, so the more we know, the better.

Have questions or comments for the PCMS Box Office? Post a comment or drop us a line at