Disability Upsets

By: Community Advocate
By: Community Advocate

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At The Orpheum, tickets for the disabled can be some of the most expensive seats in the house.

For Bobby Rolfe just taking a few simple steps is not so simple. She says for her it is really hard because of a degenerated spinal disc and no kneecap in her right leg. She says the Orpheum prices tickets in a way that discriminates against people with disabilities.

Rolfe says, "It's an insult. It's an insult to anybody with a disability."

The Orpheum only has handicap seating downstairs, but for some shows those prices are higher than the prices upstairs. Rolfe says her daughter Riki is also physically and mentally handicapped, and the family discovered the pricing policy when they called about tickets for the "Vagina Monologs" at the Orpheum. They were told that handicap seating was available, however it was fifteen dollars extra.

The Orpheum is 81-years-old and on the national register of historic places. Directors there say that means they are not able to install elevators. Ticket pricing, they say for the most part is out of their control.

Mary Eves, the President of the Board of Directors states, "I'm sure there are some hardships that are presented to some individuals."

Eves also says she understands the possible hardships caused by the situation. But, she explains that really it is the people who bring the shows and the promoters who set ticket prices.

Eves says, "We do not control the pricing of tickets."

Bobby Rolfe thinks they do have input. She thinks there is a decision made between the two parties and they are passing the buck.

Authorities from the State Department of Human Resources say The Orpheum should make sure handicapped seating is available at the lower price.

Until the policy changes, the Rolfe family says they will avoid the theater. Bobby Rolfe advocates that anybody with a disability should step up and do the same thing so they will not have to pay for their disabilities.

Eves says the theater has lowered the price of tickets for a disabled person at least one time. She says a permanent arrangement is worth investigating.


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