By MARK KENNEDY
AP Drama Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- TodayTix, the mobile app for theater tickets, has already gotten applause in New York and London. Now it plans to open in some key U.S. cities, as part of what its founders say is a "pretty aggressive roadmap over the next couple of years."
Founders Merritt Baer and Brian Fenty on Tuesday rolled out the app to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and hope to move into Washington, D.C., and Chicago by the end of the year.
"We're really excited to be rolling out to these four cities because they represent the second and third largest theatrical cities in America alongside two major theatrical landmark cities," Baer said.
The free app for Apple and Android phones lets users see all the various shows being offered up to one week in advance, select a seat, pay the best price available at the time and then receive proof of the ticket purchase -- all in less than a minute.
TodayTix searches for the best prices -- whether it's a steep discount or full price for a hit show -- and passes them along, with a $5 convenience fee. It has some 650,000 users; the typical user is 32 years old, 12 years younger than the average Broadway theatergoer.
Ticket buyers can either pick up their tickets at the box offices that have partnered with TodayTix or be greeted outside the theater by a TodayTix representative wearing in a red T-shirt or sweatshirt. The so-called concierge service costs another $5.
The app launched in 2013 and has tickets available for 40 Broadway and off-Broadway shows in New York City and, three months after launching in London, has more than 40 shows in the West End. The company said it accounts for 10 percent of ticket sales on Broadway and also gives users access to ticket lotteries, great deals during previews and even inaugurated the first barcode-read mobile tickets in London.
"We have very ambitious growth plans," Fenty said. "We really do think the sky is the limit in terms of where we can take this technology -- across the country and globally."
The app has found a following since independent surveys have found that half of Broadway tickets are bought within a week of the performance and some 47 percent of people buy their tickets online.
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