4 Ways to Score Tickets to Broadway Musical ‘Hamilton’
Theater fans longing to see the sold-out show will need loads of money, patience or luck to get a seat.
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“Hamilton” didn’t need to land a record 16 Tony nominations last month to make it the hottest ticket on Broadway. It already was. The hip-hop musical chronicling the life and death of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton was sold out into January 2017 even before the Tony nominations were announced. Yet tickets might be even hotter now that creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda will reportedly leave the show in July.
So while scoring a ticket – any ticket – this year is tricky and getting trickier, there are workarounds to seeing the musical. Take note: Some of these methods require you to be in the vicinity of the theater to secure tickets.
1. Buy Official Resale Tickets
“Hamilton,” based on the book "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow and adapted by Miranda, is playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City. The venue itself has no more face-value tickets, at least until the likely next extension of the show’s run is announced. But if you go to the official website for the Richard Rodgers Theatre (opens in new tab) and click “Buy Tickets,” you will be directed to its online box office run by Ticketmaster, where you can purchase verified resale tickets.
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Be prepared for sticker shock. The face-value price range for tickets to a Thursday night performance in June is $67 to $177. But the cost of resale tickets for the same night ranges from $2,212 in the rear mezzanine to $5,062 in the orchestra. Weekend shows can run even higher. The advantages: Authenticity of official resale tickets is verified by Ticketmaster, and the tickets are delivered instantly.
Is it worth it? Here’s what New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley wrote when “Hamilton” opened on Broadway in August 2015: “I am loath to tell people to mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets to a hit Broadway show. But ‘Hamilton,’ directed by Thomas Kail and starring Mr. Miranda, might just about be worth it — at least to anyone who wants proof that the American musical is not only surviving but also evolving in ways that should allow it to thrive and transmogrify in years to come.”
2. Shop the Unofficial Ticket Resellers
Ticket prices are similarly exorbitant on the unofficial secondary market. StubHub.com (opens in new tab) lists seats for the same Thursday performance of “Hamilton” in June at between $1,098 and $4,500. Over at SeatGeek.com (opens in new tab) for that same performance, tickets range from $1,532 to $5,808.
Procrastination can pay off, though. A half hour before a recent weeknight show time, prime orchestra seats were marked down below $500 apiece on StubHub, a fraction of what it would cost to buy similar tickets further in advance. Just keep in mind that buying tickets on the secondary market comes with risks. If tickets never materialize or turn out to be counterfeit, you should be able to get a refund from the reseller – but a refund doesn’t get you in to see “Hamilton.”
Ticket resellers (otherwise known as scalpers) cost theaters and theater-goers a pretty penny. More than $30,000 per performance of “Hamilton” is being routed into the hands of resellers and away from the show’s producers, investors and cast, Bloomberg reports. That’s $12.5 million a year. As a result, face-value ticket prices for the next leg of “Hamilton” and other hot shows could be doubled so those affiliated with the production could reap more of the profits.
3. Get in Line (digitally or physically)
If you can’t stomach paying a small dowry to see a Broadway show, there are other options. But you’ll need luck on your side to make one of them work.
Start with the daily “Hamilton” ticket lottery. Go to the show’s official website, Hamiltonbroadway.com (opens in new tab), and click on the “Lottery” tab. You’ll see instructions explaining how it works, and if you decide to enter you’ll be redirected to the official lottery website run by Broadwaydirect.com. There are 21 front-row tickets available in the lottery for each show. The cost: $10 – yes, $10. Enter online between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. for weekend matinees; between noon and 4 p.m. for evening performances following matinees; and between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for evening performances when there is no matinee. Winners are notified via email and have 60 minutes to claim their non-transferable (take that, scalpers) tickets. There’s also an in-person lottery outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre for Wednesday matinees only. Entries are accepted at noon and winners are notified by 12:30 p.m.
You could also try to get last-minute tickets the old-fashioned way, like I used to do: Go the theater and stand in line. According to Playbill.com, standing-room tickets go for $40, but there’s no guarantee any will be available. There’s also a slight – very slight! – chance the box office will have a few seats at face value due to returns or cancellations, but again there’s no guarantee. You could end up standing in line outside the box office all day for nothing.
4. Wait for “Hamilton” to Go on Tour
National touring companies of hit Broadway shows are a given. The inverse is see the show before it’s hot, in pre-Broadway tryouts. It’s too late for “Hamilton,” of course, but that’s how I saw the Tony-nominated “Bright Star,” the Steve Martin-Edie Brickell musical now on Broadway. It’s up for best musical, alongside, uh, “Hamilton.” Good luck.
The first city other than New York to host “Hamilton” will be Chicago, where an open-ended run of the show is slated to begin in September. The national tour will start out in San Francisco next March before heading to Los Angeles. Other cities on tap for the “Hamilton” tour during 2017-2018 include Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Las Vegas, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
A downside, of course, is you likely won’t get to see many (if any) of the other original cast members including Miranda. The upside: You’ll have a much better chance of getting tickets.
Bob is a Senior Online Editor at Kiplinger.com. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty, and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.
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