I spent all ofmy money on a ticket to “Hamil­ton,” and I’mOKwith that

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Veron­ica Toney


Be­fore Fe­bru­ary 2015, there were only a cou­ple of things you knew about Alexan­der Hamil­ton. He is a Found­ing Father. His face is on the $10 bill.

Now you know he’s an im­mi­grant. He raps. He’s that Found­ing Father that Lin-Manuel Mi­randa was in­spired by, wrote the mu­si­cal about and stars as in “Hamil­ton” on Broad­way. You know the cor­rect or­der forManuel and Mi­randa.

You know all this not be­cause you sud­denly re­mem­bered a way-back-when so­cial stud­ies class, but be­cause your friend who grewup in­NewYork saw the show in July and hasn’t stopped talk­ing about that “Cab­i­net scene.” Be­cause your co­worker splurged on a ticket for her birth­day for a Septem­ber Broad­way per­for­mance be­fore the show even opened on Broad­way. Be­cause in Novem­ber you lis­tened to the sound­track at the top of the charts on Spo­tify to see what all the hype was about. Be­cause you went on­line in De­cem­ber just to see how much tick­ets cost and learned that the show is sold out un­til Au­gust.

This iswhat led me to sit in front ofmy com­puter on the last Mon­day of 2015, tog­gling be­tween Tick­et­mas­ter.com, Stub­Hub.com and Broad­wayTick­ets.org in search of re­sale tick­ets (once less del­i­cately known as scalpers’ tick­ets). Af­ter com­par­ing ser­vice fees while suf­fer­ing flash­backs ofmy mom­say­ing, “Don’t buy that ticket!” onmy Christ­mas visit home to the Mid­west, I fi­nally heldmy breath and clicked “pur­chase.” So please don’t sug­gest any hap­py­hour out­ings dur­ing Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. I’ll be drink­ing wine strictly at home, thank you.

The ticket I bought isn’t a great seat, or even a good one. It’s the best one I found for the ridicu­lously high price of $500, the most Iwould al­lowmy­self to spend. Yet as I looked at tick­ets in the or­ches­tra for more than $600, $800 and $1,000, I found­my­self think­ing, for a split se­cond, “Should I spend an­other $100?”

Yes, I know it’s crazy, but I’m not the only one who has caught “Hamil­ton” fever.

“I still can’t jus­tify it,” says Kody Keplinger, 24, the au­thor of the young-adult novel “The Duff,” of the thought of shelling out that much for a ticket. “You have to pay rent.”

Keplinger has seen “Hamil- ton.” She and her mom won the ticket lot­tery on a Sun­day—“the day Lin-Manuel Mi­randa is off.” So now she’s try­ing to see the show again. Two days in a row, she tried to get can­cel­la­tion tick­ets, which are made avail­able for pur­chase a half-hour be­fore the 7 or 8 p.m. cur­tain.

“My best friend and I showed up at 1 p.m.,” she re­mem­bers, but they ended up be­ing “the next peo­ple in line when they ran out of tick­ets.” It was the same ex­act story for the next evening’s per­for­mances.

She still hopes she can score a $10 #Ham4Ham ticket in the daily lot­tery, just like the more than 50,000 peo­ple who en­tered the on­line lot­tery Jan. 5— and who crashed the show’s web­site. That was the only day of the win­ter on­line lot­tery.

Sarah Gaines, a 25-year-old restau­rant cashier who’s pur­su­ing a ca­reer in the­ater, has seen “Hamil­ton” twice, mainly be­cause she’s “a huge fan” of ac­tor An­drew Ran­nells (of “Girls” and “Book ofMor­mon” fame), who played King Ge­orge in the show for one month. Gaines paid $800 for her first ticket, in the front mez­za­nine, dur­ing the pre­miere week of what she dubbed “Ran­nell­ton.” The se­cond cost her $400 for a seat in very last row of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, for Ran­nells’ last per­for­mance.

“I ba­si­cally didn’t spend mon- ey on any­thing else. That in­cludes hid­ing down­stairs dur­ing my breaks at work in­stead of go­ing to get food,” Gaines says. “This is the first time I’ve spent this much on any­thing.”

As for me, I calmly could have resched­uledmy trip to New York upon news of this week­end’s im­pend­ing snow­storm in­stead of pan­ick­ing and pay­ing the $39 fee (yes, more money for “Hamil­ton”) to change the train ticket that I bought more than two weeks in ad­vance to get a $137 round-trip deal.

But it’s OK. I know that th­ese sac­ri­fices will be worth it.

Af­ter all, I get to be part of the zeit­geist.

I will get to see the man who cre­ated the mu­si­cal per­form it as he en­vi­sioned with the orig­i­nal cast; my pho­tos will live as a Face­book brag in be­tween ev­ery­one else’s wed­ding, baby and new-home pho­tos; and I will tell the story of the time I saw “Hamil­ton” for years to come.

This is a mo­ment. When pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls are talk­ing im­mi­gra­tion and ev­ery­one else is talk­ing #Os­carsSoWhite for a se­cond year in a row, the hottest ticket in the coun­try is a mu­si­cal about an im­mi­grant writ­ten by a mi­nor­ity artist in which peo­ple are break-danc­ing on­stage.

And I am not miss­ing my one shot. Not af­ter what I paid for that ticket.

Lin-Manuel Mi­randa, fore­ground, with the cast dur­ing a per­for­mance of “Hamil­ton” in­NewYork. Joan Mar­cus, The Pub­lic The­ater

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