Well folks. It happened. I saw Hamilton on Broadway last week.
Nick and I decided to take the plunge and purchase some (relatively) inexpensive tickets to the show back in May. After some convincing (and begging… lots of begging) we purchased the tickets as a joint 5th wedding anniversary gift to each other. I plan to cover our entire trip in a blog post tomorrow, but I wanted to focus solely on Hamilton first because I’ve had so many people ask me about our experience seeing the show!
I thought it would be best to just break it down into bullet points. Hopefully you can use these tips and tricks if you have the chance to see it on Broadway! (And it’s not as hard as you might think…)
7. Be wary about where you purchase your tickets, but don’t worry about where you sit. Buying tickets at face value from Ticketmaster is almost impossible since the tickets disappear as soon as they are posted. Because of that, be sure to exercise caution if purchasing through StubHub. After having worked at an event venue for four years, I saw many folks scammed and disappointed after buying fake tickets online. That’s not to say that all tickets on StubHub are fake, but the only way to get certified tickets for the show is through Ticketmaster. They have a resale option built into the ticketing page, so be sure to look there. (A few years ago I wrote a blog post for my former employer talking about safely buying tickets online. Can you tell I’m passionate about this?)
When you get to deciding where you want to sit, I promise you that any seat is a good one. Our seats were on the last row of the lower mezzanine in the exact center and I loved seeing the stage from above. I have friends who sat very close to the absolute back row and they still thought they had the best seat in the house!
I should also mention that while tickets are expensive, they aren’t hard to find. I found 12 seats for today’s show starting at $435 each on Ticketmaster. You can also enter the digital lottery, but be sure to confirm your email address after entering!
6. There’s no need to arrive more than an hour early. The doors open 30 minutes prior to the event, and folks typically don’t start lining up earlier than an hour before the show. If you already have tickets, there’s no need to rush! You will have plenty of time to get your merch and drinks before the show starts. If you want to stay nearby the theater, Times Square is literally around the corner. Go be touristy and kill some time before the show!
I do want to mention: if you’re going to a Wednesday matinee like we did, you should absolutely go see Ham4Ham! Ham4Ham is an in-person lottery done at noon on Wednesdays, unlike the digital lottery that’s done for all of the other shows. Guests are treated to a live performance by Hamilton cast members, other Broadway actors or musical guests. The best part? It’s hosted by Rory O’Malley, the current King George. Even though we weren’t entering the lottery, we were able to see the “show.” We arrived at around 11:40 and joined the crowd inside the barricades.
5. The lines for the bathroom get super long. Well, I can’t speak for the men’s bathroom but I’ve heard rumors that folks have missed the beginning of the second act of the show because of bathroom lines. I drank about half a bottle of water while waiting for the show to start, but I kept it at that. I didn’t want to struggle with my notoriously small bladder! (#TMI, whatever.) So if you can avoid a trip to the bathroom, definitely do so.
4. Yes, merch and drinks are expensive. A soda costs about $7, but you do get a souvenir Hamilton “sippy cup” so I think it’s worth it. My friend and fellow Hamilfan Mia recommends the Hamiltini and the Founder’s Fizz if you’re looking for an adult beverage. T-shirts are roughly $40 each but the designs are gorgeous and it’s a (probably) once in a lifetime experience so I say go for it! Oh, and be generous to the staff selling snacks and merch. They have a lot to deal with, so flash them a smile, say thanks, and give them a tip. It goes a long way. Oh, and if you’re sitting in the mezzanine, they have additional booths up there, so skip the lines in the lobby!
3. Don’t be discouraged about not seeing the “original broadway cast.” We purchased our tickets in May for our August showing knowing that contracts for the show came up in July and Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr) would be leaving. We also knew that Lin Manuel Miranda (Alexander Hamilton) and Phillipa Soo (Eliza Schuyler/Hamilton) would also be leaving sometime in the summer, but we hoped it would be after our Aug. 10 show. Unfortunately all three of these cast members PLUS Daveed Diggs (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson) departed before we could see them. I held on to the fact that we would still be able to see Chis Jackson (George Washington), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler), and Anthony Ramos (John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton).
Well, lo and behold, all of the above cast members were off for our particular show. (We did get to see Oak though!) But you guys. It honestly did. not. matter. one. bit. Every single person in this cast and company were absolutely fantastic. Javier Munoz (Alexander Hamilton or “Javilton” as we lovingly refer to him) brought something entirely different to the part and honestly blew me away. Lexi Lawson was the perfect choice for delicate but headstrong Eliza and our Angelica (Alysha Deslorieux) sounded so similar to Renee that I almost couldn’t tell a difference.
But the star of the show was Andrew Chappelle as Lafayette/Jefferson. I’ve followed Andrew on Snapchat and Twitter for a few months now and he is freaking hilarious. I was so nervous to see how someone could possibly fill Daveed’s shoes because the role felt so tailored to him. But y’all: Andrew KILLED IT. He brought the perfect combination of Lafayette’s insanely difficult raps to Jefferson’s sass and so, so much more. I don’t believe he has been cast officially in this role, but it’s just a matter of time, in my opinion. He had the entirely audience rolling on the floor in laughter every time he was on the stage.
2. Bring tissues. Even though I’m a sensitive soul, movies, books or TV shows don’t typically make me cry. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve cried on my couch, bed or in a theater over something I’m reading or seeing. Well folks, “Hamilton” is easily one of those experiences that has brought me to tears. And guess what? Everyone on my row, women AND men, were crying too. Just do yourself a favor and slip some Kleenex in your pocket. Thank me later.
1. The show will blow you away. I didn’t think that I could possibly love Hamilton anymore than I already did. After Nick introduced it to me last Thanksgiving, I listened to the soundtrack at least twice a week since then. I know every line, every ad lib, every note. To say I’m obsessed is an understatement. To be honest, I wasn’t sure it would live up to the expectation I had created in my mind.
Well, I’m pleased to tell you that it absolutely did live up to it. In fact, it went above and beyond. Merely listening to these songs at the office or in the car offers only one dimension. Seeing the looks on the characters faces, the choreography, the costumes, the set… all of these combined amplified everything I already loved about the show. Some lyrics were delivered in a slightly different way that made me understand them more than I had before and many of the artistic decisions had my jaw on the floor. It was a stunning (STUNNING) piece of art that I cannot wait to see again. (Donations to Whitney’s Hamilton fund can be made via Paypal… *wink*)
So have I convinced you to buy tickets to the show yet? I promise you won’t be disappointed! If you somehow made it through this entire post without having listened to the soundtrack… just go to Spotify and listen to it right now.