Performing Arts

Don’t throw away your shot: Here’s what you need to do to get KC ‘Hamilton’ tickets

‘My Shot’: A montage from ‘Hamilton’

After its huge success on Broadway, "Hamilton" expanded to Chicago, where it has been playing in an open-ended run since October 2016.
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After its huge success on Broadway, "Hamilton" expanded to Chicago, where it has been playing in an open-ended run since October 2016.

Cue the soundtrack for the prime question posed by “Hamilton,” the Tony Award winning musical coming in June to Kansas City:

“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot, in the Caribbean, by providence, impoverished, in squalor, grow up to a hero and a scholar?”

One way to find out is to purchase tickets — if you can — to the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical heading to town for the first time. Organizers on Tuesday announced the key dates to remember: Starting April 23, wannabe ticket buyers have eight days to register for a chance to buy tickets online. The tickets actually go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, May 6. But there’s more to it than that.

A touring production of Hamilton,” winner in 2016 of 11 Tony Awards, will come to the Music Hall June 18 to July 7. Ticket prices will range between $71 and $195, with a select number of $435 tickets available.

Season ticket holders have already bought up about 12,500 tickets for the first week of the three-week run. But simple math — the Music Hall holds about 2,360 people, and there will be eight performances each week — says that more than 40,000 tickets will still be available for purchase.

Getting those tickets is going to require some planning, quick action and a bit of luck:

If, like Aaron Burr, you’d like a shot at “Hamilton,” there is a way without breaking the bank, a notion that Alexander Hamilton himself would have admired. (He helped establish the first central bank of the U.S.)

Shoba Narayan, Ta’Rea Campbell and Nyla Sostre - HAMILTON National Tour - Joan Marcus 2018.jpg
Playing the Schuyler sisters in the “Hamilton” tour coming to Kansas City, from left: Shoba Narayan as Eliza (who goes on to marry Alexander Hamilton), Ta’Rea Campbell as Angelica and Nyla Sostre as Peggy. Joan Marcus

The show’s sold-out Broadway performances had theatergoers willing to pay scalpers and resale sites thousands of dollars per seat. And now some resale sites, more than a month before the Kansas City run, are already hawking orchestra seats for more than $2,000 apiece.

One goal of the American Theatre Guild in Kansas City, along with its touring presentation partner, Broadway Across America, is to prevent theatergoers from falling prey to scurrilous ticket pirates, automated buying sites and profiteers looking to force people to pay more than face value for their tickets.

“We want everyone to have the same shot at buying tickets,” said Krissi Diers, Broadway Across America’s executive director of marketing.

To that end, they have established two ways to get face value tickets:

One is to show up in person — and likely line up — at the Music Hall box office inside Municipal Auditorium, 301 W. 13th St., when a limited number of single tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. May 6. No phone orders are being accepted. The limit is four tickets per person. Lining up does not guarantee you will get tickets. People buying at the box office will be competing for tickets against those who are trying to purchase them through an online system. Once the shows are sold out, they’re sold out.

Or register for a chance to buy tickets online. This method does not guarantee you will get tickets either. But it gives you a chance. Here’s how it works:

Starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 23, and continuing through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, you can register at Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan link: verifiedfan.ticketmaster.com/hamiltonkc.

The site will be live for only those eight days, and registering early offers no advantages.

The site is designed to ensure that those who are buying tickets are regular people as opposed to robots or brokers looking to purchase en masse and drive up prices. Ticketmaster will weed out those trying to take advantage of the system, checking on suspicious or repeated billing addresses, email addresses or credit card numbers.

On May 5, those who are verified will receive an email that contains an access code to use to try to purchase tickets online. Again, receiving an access code does not guarantee tickets.

Starting at 10 a.m. May 6, those with an access code can log into the purchase site and attempt to buy up to four tickets. This is where the rush happens. Tickets at that point are sold on a first-come-first-served basis. They’re likely to go fast.

There’s one other ticket option for a lucky few: There will be a lottery for 37 $10 seats at each performance. Details will be announced closer to opening night.

Performances will be nightly Tuesdays through Sundays, plus matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.

The groundbreaking musical, which received a record 16 Tony nominations, blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap and R&B to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s trusted aide and one of America’s most brilliant founding fathers.

Miranda based the musical on a book he picked up to read on a vacation, the best-selling biography “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow.

Broadway Across America’s strategy to give 2017-18 season ticket holders first chance at seats for “Hamilton” paid off. Season ticket sales jumped 45 percent — from 8,582 in 2016-17 to 12,475 in 2017-18.

“Hamilton” marks the last show of the 2018-19 season.
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Eric Adler has won more than 50 state and national journalism awards for his reporting that often tell the extraordinary tales of ordinary people. A graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in NY, he teaches journalism ethics at the University of Kansas.
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