• Hot 'Hamilton' in Detroit tickets can still be found - here's how

    • By Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press

    Hot 'Hamilton' in Detroit tickets can still be found - here's how

    When "Hamilton" comes to Detroit next month, you want to be in the room where it happens. 

    But searching Ticketmaster for seats often turns up this discouraging message: "Oh-no! These tickets went fast and we're unable to find more right now."

    When they are available at the official site, it's predominantly for "verified resale" tickets that cost more than the original price range of $80 to $185 (plus a few $485 premium seats).

    They're going for $200, $300, even $1,000 or more in some cases.

    Is there any hope, at this point, of seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda's masterpiece musical about the immigrant from the West Indies who became a founding father of America? Especially if you're young, scrappy and hungry, like Alexander Hamilton himself in the first act? 

    Now for some good news: While tickets for the Tony-winning sensation's March 12 through April 21 run at the Fisher Theatre have sold virtually at the speed of light, there are still ways to find them.

    And more options are coming soon. With luck and persistence, you just might be selected for one of the 40 tickets reserved for each night that will be go for $10 — or roughly the cost of a movie matinee and a small popcorn. 

    Nobody is saying it's going to be easy. But you don't have to throw away your shot. (Can you tell yet that we're "Hamilton freaks?).

    Here are some tips on gaining entry to the powerful, tragic narrative and irresistible mix of  hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway during its six-week-long Motor City stay.

    No tickets yet? Don't give up

    OK, so you didn't get tickets early as a subscriber to the Broadway in Detroit series that's bringing seven plays — including "Hamilton" — to town this season.

    The lure of "Hamilton" was so great that it helped double the amount of those subscribers, according to Scott Myers, director of corporate sales and marketing for Broadway in Detroit at Nederlander Detroit.

    And you weren't able to get them through the online Ticketmaster Verified Fan  program for  the general public that took place on Jan. 25: the Ticketmaster Verified Fan. Well, we saw the complaints.

    The Verified Fan idea, designed to help real people compete against scalpers and bots on initial sales, allowed you to pre-register to buy "Hamilton" in Detroit tickets online. It didn't guarantee them, however, and the rapid sellout of what was available drove some disappointed registrants to social media to gripe that it wasted their time.


    A wristband lottery held Jan. 25 at the Fisher Theatre had a happier outcome. On Jan. 25, a crowd began forming in the Fisher Building lobby before its 7:30 a.m. start. Eight hours later, the last number was called and roughly 600 entrants were able to buy tickets.

    So what options now remain? Several, actually. Myers says it's still worth checking in regularly with Ticketmaster.com and BroadwayinDetroit.com to see whether anything is available. 

    One reason? Additional seats may become open closer to the show, because new blocks of tickets may be made available. But it's impossible to know in advance when this could happen or how many seats would be involved. 

    ”That’s up to the producers of the show and they’ll tell us when they’re ready to do that.” says Myers.

    In the theater world, a few seats typically are kept on reserve for special guests and released later if they aren't needed. Also, new seats can emerge once the show actually begins installing sets and discovers that seats designated as limited view may be OK. These sort of things affect the status of a small number of tickets.

    Any updates on new blocks of tickets will  be posted on Broadway in Detroit's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites, according to Myers.

    What about checking the box office at the last minute?

    It's an old-school approach, but it can work — if you have the time and flexibility to stop by the Fisher Building and enough persistence not to be discouraged by rejection.

    "I’ve been doing this now for 23 years, and day-of (availability) is common, to have some seats pop up," says Myers, sharing the general rule. "I tell my friends if you don’t mind driving down to the theater (to) possibly (get) seats, it could very well be worth it for an event, because you never know."

    But with a show as enormously popular as "Hamilton," this is the wrong strategy for securing tickets for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. If you're rolling the box office dice, you shouldn't make promises to anyone beforehand — like your spouse or significant other — that you'll be successful.

    Says Myers, "My thing is always if you really, really want the seat, you want to know exactly where you’re sitting, you want to have that guarantee, of course, get it in advance."

    Still, taking a chance could make you a winner. Says Myers, "If you’re like, 'Oh they might they have seats. Do you wanna go? Yeah let’s go see if we can get in,' totally do it. ... You may not be able to pick where you’re going to sit. But if you want to see the show, you might get lucky.”

    More: 'Hamilton' mania in Detroit as hundreds show up for ticket lottery

    Winning the daily lottery

    Unlike the Jan. 25 wristband lottery, which featured regular ticket prices, the metaphorical Mega Millions of "Hamilton" lotteries will be announced soon. Details are coming about the lottery that will be held for each performance for 40 seats for $10.

    The process hasn't been revealed yet, but it's expected to be similar to the ones done for the Broadway version of the show and previous national tour stops. With the #Ham4Ham lottery, you enter to win two tickets via the official "Hamilton" website or the "Hamilton" app.

    Basically, you sign up online between 11 a.m. two days prior to the show and 9 a.m. one day prior. If you're randomly chosen, you get notified via e-mail around 11 a.m. the day before the show and have a five-hour window that starts immediately to buy the deeply discounted tickets.

    Broadway in Detroit has held various sorts of lotteries in the past for mega-hits "Wicked," Rent," and "The Book of Mormon." It's a way to help democratize the expensive ticket process. But because of the "Hamilton" lottery, there won't be any lower-priced student rush tickets during its run, as there are now for "The Play That Goes Wrong," the Broadway in Detroit title that wraps its current run on Feb. 24.

    Some charitable options

    If your dream date for seeing "Hamilton" tickets is March 12 or 28 or April 4 or 9, it's worth checking what's still available for the four "Hamilton" benefits scheduled during the Detroit run.

    Organizations approved by the show's producers and Broadway in Detroit have been cleared to sell a limited number of tickets on those nights for charitable purposes. They include nights for Congregation Shir Tikvah/Upland Hills School/Congregation Beth Shalom event, Hillel of Metro Detroit, Mosaic Youth Theatre and Leadership! Fueled by Entrepreneur-ISM (aka L!FE), a  group founded by Amy Nederlander that helps empower middle and high school students in Detroit through career and leadership programs.

    The groups set their own prices with a portion of each ticket going toward their programs, according to Broadway in Detroit's "Hamilton" FAQ page. It has links to each benefit, along with overall useful information on the show.Remember, when you're handing over money for expensive tickets, it's good to know you're helping someone in the process.


    What about those four-figure tickets that are popping up?

    The secondary market for "Hamilton" tickets priced at $200 and up, all the way to a few that cost $1,000 or more — which, trust us, does not come with "Hamilton" creator Miranda sitting next to you and offering inside commentary.

    Some of the heftiest price tags reflect a certain amount of wishful speculation. Like home sellers, the original buyers of the tickets are, in some cases, trying to see how much the market will bear.

    Myers can't speak to some of the better-known names in the secondary markets for tickets. But he can say that the "verified resale" tickets on Ticketmaster.com are guaranteed to be available and legitimate. They also give Broadway in Detroit a way to contact purchasers via email or phone in case of unforeseen events, like the recent cancellation of a "Phantom of the Opera" performance here because of the recent polar vortex-related weather emergency.

    Given the volatility of Detroit weather forecasts in March and April in Detroit, that's good to know.

    As for the verified resales priced at $1,000 per ticket, Myers says, "What we’re telling people is if you see that at that price and you don’t want to pay it, don’t buy it. Let it sit there for a minute and see if it goes down.”

    And if you object to the concept of ticket scalping altogether, you can skip the whole process. "That’s the world that we’re in, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it," says Myers.

    The thing to really avoid? Potential scams, like the one that was offering "Hamilton" tickets for it 2018 run at the Detroit Opera House.

    People paid thousands of dollars for tickets with the wrong year and venue, according to Myers.

    The 'Hamilton' bump

    Detroit is expecting a smooth run for "Hamilton," in part because it has learned lessons from how other cities have handled the tour. Myers credits such shared knowledge for helping with the success of the Jan. 25 lottery at the Fisher.

    Myers anticipates "Hamilton" will be a weekend experience  for many who come to see the show and stick around a day or two to explore the recent development in Midtown Detroit and the downtown district.

    From coffee shops and clothing stores to galleries and hotels, Alexander Hamilton is going to be a welcome visitor.

    ”it’s great that we’re going to have so many people coming to see a hit show and having a great time in the city," says Myers.

    Contact Detroit Free Press pop culture writer Julie Hinds: 313-222-6427 or jhinds@freepress.com.
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