Why You Don't Need a King's Ransom to Score Good Hamilton Seats
You’d be forgiven for thinking that tickets to a history-making, genre-upending, Pulitzer-, Grammy- and Tony-winning Broadway production would be hard to come by—and stratospherically priced to boot. But you’d be wrong. At least if Hamilton were the show you had in mind. And let’s be honest: It’s the show everyone has in mind.
Here’s the thing: With the right strategy, you can score tickets without (a) the treasury of King George III; (b) a pre-dawn duel or (c) having to wait till the 300th anniversary of Hamilton’s birth (trivia alert: that would be 2057). And the seats will be good.
How do we know? Because the Richard Rodgers theatre is quite literally designed not to have bad ones: It was the first Broadway theater to incorporate stadium seating—as well as the first so-called “democratic” theater, where all patrons enter through the same doors. (Until Richard Rodgers’ debut in 1925, balcony and mezzanine seat-holders had traditionally used separate entrances.)
The seating arrangement means that even if you’re in the very last row of the mezzanine, you can still see, say, the delicate ropes and pulleys in the far corners of the set, all designed in the style of the ships that brought Hamilton from the West Indies to America. None of which to say that you will wind up in the very last row: There's every possibility of finding orchestra and mezzanine seats for $239 and $199.
And because of the stage floor’s concentric spinning circles, which allow the actors to both stay still and move, whatever you miss one second you’re probably catching the next—even if that isn’t the stated purpose of these “turntables.” Set designer David Korins explained to The Washington Post that they “were inspired by the whirlwind of history that sweeps up Hamilton, as well as the literal hurricane that hits the Caribbean island where he was born. “There’s also this cyclical relationship between Aaron Burr and Hamilton,” Korins added, “where they were basically spiraling around each other their entire careers and lives.”
To see that dynamic in person—plus everything else every critic and Hamilton-goer has been raving about—read on. We’ve got the best strategies to get you in the door on Broadway.
Make it a winter midweek treat.
This is the safest bet. If you want to go in the next few months—or you want someone else to (of course, you'd be ruining the recipient for all other holiday gifts)—there's a secret sweet spot: Tuesdays through Thursdays, January through March. This is when you'll find the best selection of tickets, and they really do start at $199. Truly great seats (we've seen some two rows from the stage) are available for $239. And you'll find those prices whether you’re going to the Hamilton website, Ticketmaster or—perhaps most surprisingly—the box office (see below).
Buy tickets right through the box office.
Full disclosure: This option is a long shot and requires that you have a flexible schedule, but if you walk up to the box office and ask if tickets are available, you may luck into a seat for an upcoming performance—whether because of cancellations or holds that have been released. Even we used to think such good fortune was urban myth, but we learned otherwise during a recent recon mission to the theater for a midweek show, when the sisters sitting behind us—one of whom was visiting from Houston—said they'd recently snagged tickets at the box office themselves. (Texas was well-represented that night: Chip and Joanna Gaines and their kids—all except the baby—were in the row behind the sisters. Please note that we can’t guarantee celebrity attendance.)
And if you don't score tickets, there's a silver lining: You can take advantage of being at the box office—where you save yourself the Internet processing fees ($15 per ticket)—and see what other seats might be available in the coming months. Again, the timeframe that's likeliest to yield results is midweek, January-March.
Play the lottery.
Okay, risk takers. This one's for you: You can sign up for the digital lottery, i.e, the chance to win up to two tickets for $10 apiece (plus a hearty “congratulations” from the woman in charge of the queues to get into the theater). If you prefer to save your brain space for, say, memorizing every last Hamilton rap, download the Ham Lottery app. Your phone will then notify you when the lottery opens, auto-fill your information and let you know when the lottery is closed. Whichever way you go, lottery tickets are available for all eight performances in a given week.
And if you score—whether through the lottery, the website, Ticketmaster or the box office—don't be surprised to find yourself borrowing one of the Schuyler sisters' most iconic lines: "Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now."