HAMILTON, AN AMERICAN PHENOMENON

If you know me, or have been reading my blog, you’ll know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I’m a Broadway theatre junky. It should come to no surprise to anyone that, with scrupulous attention to Broadway happenings, and careful planning, I was able to see the original cast of Hamilton, including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr., shortly after the show opened on Broadway, in 2015, then, just last week, again, on tour at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood (and, yes, if I could swing it and squeeze it into my schedule, I’d go AGAIN!). I’m often asked how I was able to score great tickets at face value for such a mega-hit. Well, I’ll tell you – pay attention, calendar, and plan.

The first question many people ask me is, “is it worth it?” That’s an EASY answer – YES! I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds (well, maybe thousands) of shows, and this one definitely comes up at the top part of my list as all-time best. It’s original, it’s invigorating, it’s moving – everything you’ve read about, everything you’ve heard, every clip you’ve seen – it’s not the ‘best’ moments from an otherwise dull show, it’s a small snippet of an entire production of greatness. It’s a ‘must see’ for every theatre lover and for every Hamilton soundtrack lover. DO NOT miss this show.

PBS presented a TREMENDOUS documentary of the making of Hamilton which included lots of footage from the original cast. They still show it from time to time, but, if you join their ‘Passport’ program (donation required), you can access it online [LINK TO DOCUMENTARY INFO] – and, no, to the best of my knowledge, it is NOT available on YouTube (there is a program from the Bush Center with same name, but that is not this documentary).

As for the touring company, well, it’s NOT the original cast, but it IS exceptional (AND, you can’t see the original cast live on stage – they’ve all gone on to other projects). Michael Luwoye is the National Tour Hamilton, and has the distinct honor and credential of also having played Aaron Burr as a standby for the Broadway production. Although he did a tremendous job in the starring role, and all who see it are certain to be moved by his performance (as was I), he is NOT Lin-Manuel Miranda. The standouts, for me, on the tour are Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr (riveting performance, incredible voice), Rory O’Malley (with his hysterical interpretation of King George), Jordan Donica as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson (who, IMHO, steals every scene he’s in with his physical and vocal humor, let alone his impossibly fast rapping), and, relative newcomer, Solea Pfeiffer as Eliza Hamilton. I first had the joy of seeing Solea as Maria in the Hollywood Bowl’s concert version of West Side Story in the summer of 2016 – her first role out of college; a role that she won from a YouTube discovery by LAPhil and Gustavo Dudamel. I knew, then, that she would rise to musical fame, I just didn’t know how fast and how high she would rise. Her interpretation of Eliza Hamilton was simply breathtaking. Here’s a treat – it’s IMPOSSIBLE to find Hamilton tour videos, but here’s a peak at a great bluesy performance by Joshua Henry (Aaron Burr), just to give you a feel for his velvety soulful voice –

SO, now on to the other big question …. ‘how do I get tickets without having to sell my house?” The short answer …. PLAN.

There are a number of ways to get Hamilton tickets. If you’re on a tight budget, you can try your luck at winning a pair for $10 a ticket by entering at http://www.hamiltonbroadway.com/lotto or on their App (yes, a Broadway show with an app to score tickets!), www.HamiltonBroadway.com/app. If you have a little more to spend, but can’t go over face value (and, YES, even if all you can swing are the last row of the highest balcony all the way over against the wall, DO IT – bring binoculars and be ‘in the room where it happens!’), you need to watch for the ‘on sale’ dates. Check out the touring schedule and note that MANY of the locations have not yet been selling individual seats, so, if there is a theatre near you, or anywhere close to where you might be willing to travel for a quick getaway, make a call and see when they go on sale so you can score decent seats for face value (which still is going to run you $75-$750 + fees per ticket, based on Los Angeles prices), but it’s MUCH more affordable than trying your luck on the verified resale sites. AND, some of these theatres might even still have season packages available that will not only give you Hamilton tickets, but will include other shows in their upcoming season so you can become as addicted to theatre as I am! [LINK TO TOUR SCHEDULE]

Broadway, of course, is going to be showing Hamilton for a LONG time. Watch for announcements of open blocks, then jump online and get your ticket to the show first, and your airfare, if necessary, after (obviously, check airfare prices ahead so you can be prepared). Face value Orchestra is running $450-$850 per ticket (+processing fees).

If you can’t win the lottery, can’t get to NYC, and missed out on the first sale dates at a nearby theatre, try VERIFIED resale tickets through Ticketmaster. For instance, Hamilton is currently playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, and will run through the end of 2017. Although the regular tix are gone, verified resale tix are still available through the Pantages Theatre website/Ticketmaster. Be prepared to shell out $300 or more per ticket for back/side mezzanine and $400-$3000 PER ticket for Orchestra. If you can go on short notice, sometimes you can find a desperate seller, otherwise, just keep clicking on each day until you can find something that works for you. [LINK TO PANTAGES HOLLYWOOD RESALE TICKETS]

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for your performance date (if you have tix), or waiting to GET tix, or waiting to win the lottery (Hamilton or otherwise), or waiting and praying for the show to be released as a Fathom Event or on DVD, here is a performance of the opening number by the original cast from the 2016 Grammy Awards Show …

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