"Also who are these tickets meant for? For lower income people? For students and struggling artists? For passionate theater goers on a budget?"
This was my immediate question as well, and I believe the most significant one. What theatergoing consumers are targeted? Sounds like those desperate to be anywhere in the building to see the show, not those who otherwise couldn't attend.
Speaking only for myself, I'll add: the answers don't invite much support for this practice.