Queer playwright Jeremy O. Harris is enjoying critical acclaim for his Broadway show, Slave Play. On Tuesday he appeared on Late Night with Seth Myers to talk about it.
The conversation turned to Harris’ earlier days when he admits resorting to several scams as an undergraduate student to secure himself theater tickets.
This included confidently telling the box office staff that a particular board member had invited his father and him to see the show. He indicated this often resulted in them doing all they could to locate spare tickets.
Another way was to text a rich friend to tell them everyone was raving about a particular show – such as Slave Play – along with a ticket link, in the hope that said friend would generously offer to buy them both tickets.
Last night @SlavePlayBway author @jeremyoharris did one of my favorite things ever. He said how when he was poor he scammed Broadway tickets, and then he scammed Seth into buying Slave Play tickets for the first 10 people who tweeted him. Like watching a magic trick unfold. pic.twitter.com/b3aMqHWi59
— Mike Shoemaker (@shoemakermike) October 30, 2019
“I hate to say it but I scammed a lot of theaters in California, New York, and Chicago in my rush to see theater in my early 20s,” says Harris.
Myers says he hopes the scams work and plenty of people go see Slave Play.
Sensing an opportunity, Harris takes full advantage of the moment.
“You said people should text their rich friend? You are rich!” he points out to Myers.
“Oh yeah,” admits Myers.
“If someone tweets you tonight that they want to see Slave Play, will you buy them a ticket?”
“Yeah,” responds Myers without missing a beat.
Harris is delighted and says he didn’t plan to scam the talkshow host.
“I brought up the scams and then you scammed me!” replies Myers, before going on to offer to buy tickets for the first ten people who tweeted him.
Harris then asks him if he’ll buy them premium seats. Myers takes a moment but then, on the spot, agrees to do so.
“What an honor to be played by you, sir!”
Later, Harris took to Twitter to praise the host.
“You guys @sethmeyers is truly the best rich friend Bc I just went through and counted and he literally bought 19 ppl pairs of tix to @SlavePlayBway and that’s such a fucking generous give to a cheeky ask. Thank you Seth!”
Although the interaction has prompted some box office staff to politely ask people not to try and trick them into giving away tickets, others have praised Harris for shedding light on the fact that many people desperate to see live theater don’t have the financial means to do so.
Love this not only bc ten people will be able to see this show for free but also bc jeremy exposes that theater lives WITHIN our class stratified society and convinces a man with financial capital to USE it to dismantle a traditionally classist ticketing system on national tv 😱 https://t.co/u8YI12lnaw
— Kahari Blue (@kbluedoe) October 30, 2019
Actor and playwright Harris, 30, grew up largely in Martinsville (Virginia) before moving to Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.
He first came to the attention of audiences with his play Daddy, which helped him secure a place at the Yale School of Drama in 2016. It was while at Yale that he wrote Slave Play, which first appeared off-Broadway to great acclaim in 2018.
The three-act play, which explores sex, power and intimacy within the context of interracial relationships, transferred to Broadway’s John Golden Theatre last month.