Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hamilton on Broadway (via Hamilton Lottery)

The week was already on quite a high from meeting the actors in "Hamilton" during the class trip when Don decided to try for the famous Hamilton lottery and try to win tickets to see the show life. 

The "Hamilton" Lottery is:

For every performance (at their discretion) they raffle off 21 tickets. Ashley said at one performance 50,000 people tried for the 21 tickets and the system crashed. In other words, we didn't stand a chance, on the other hand we had no plans that day (quite rare) so we had nothing to lose. We have no idea how many people tried the day we did, only that he won and I lost. Winners pay $10 for their front row seats (in other words, they pay a "Hamilton").

Don followed the instructions to a T. Enter between 9 AM and 11 AM. Announcement made at 11 AM either way via email. He entered my name, then on a lark he entered his name. A similar lottery happens for evening performances from noon to 4 PM. Front row tickets are also be available during #Ham4Ham -- usually performed before the Wednesday and Sunday matinees. So maybe on those days the online lottery isn't available? 
#Ham4Ham is always different. Always entertaining. When we were there on Wednesday, Mayor Bill DeBlassio was involved with the pre-show. Unfortunately we had group lunch plans and missed the performance, but we did see the Mayor. Another post about opening week for #Ham4Ham -- between 200 and 700 people turn out for these live shows. I really don't know how these live
lotteries mesh with the online lottery. With the live lottery, though, they are still entertained for free (except when they just do the drawing, and don't do the pre-show). Next time we'll have to time a trip to see the #Ham4Ham pre-show (seriously, follow the above link to feel part of the fandom). The show definitely has a cult following -- especially among teenage girls. The tradition of cheaper tickets available day of dates back to Rent in 1997 when ticket prices topped off at *gasp* $67.50. Makes me wish I saw more shows in those days.
Back to Saturday. We went on with our day. I went to visit an Ecuadorian pizza shop owner whose accent made it too hard to hear him on the phone (plus it is harder to ignore me in person). I gave Don the phone number of the pizza place and (as usual) left my cell phone at home. He called me. I asked if I won. He said no, but HE won. Yippee!!

The deal was we had to be there no sooner than 1:30 to pick up our tickets from Will Call. I still had to finish my interview (which was already not going well), drive 15 minutes home (behind every slow person in Mercer County), change and dash out the door. I really should have accepted a slice of pizza, but keeping with my carb count, I skipped lunch.

We slogged up Route 1 watching the gas needle drop, but passed the long lines of cars getting gas. On the Turnpike we read the signs saying XX amount of minutes to the Lincoln Tunnel (some said to NYC, which is it to the start of the tunnel or to the exit?). Fortunately those numbers were going down in our favor.

Quickly parked the car at Port Authority and made the mad dash to the theater. We didn't know if Don would be able to pass the ticket to me (he had little interest in seeing it), so we each brought something to keep entertained for three hours. Ashley knew she was seeing it.

Tickets in hand (Row CC, 112 and 113) we made our way to the front row. Squee!! Even I got excited. I've never seen a show that up close. When we took Ashley to see Wicked for her birthday we were nearly in the last row.

We learned this performance would be very understudy heavy. After recently reading a story similar to THIS one about understudies who became famous, we put a positive spin on it. It was Jason Groff's last day as King George (he had one more performance that night). On Wednesday Ashley had been bummed even if we did see "Hamilton" someday, it wouldn't be with him. That made the win that much more sweet.

The theater is gorgeous, especially compared with the newness of the Minskoff Theater where we saw "The Lion King" a few days earlier during her class trip. It didn't seem like a big theater, either. (1,597 seats vs. 1,319 seats)

The stage looked simple on the surface. Ashley and l loved the rotating stage, which made lampposts move closer to people as they were walking in place. The ensemble effortlessly moved the various pieces of furniture on and off the stage. 

We were close enough to feel the stage vibrate during the big dance scenes, to watch the spit come out of their mouths (fortunately none landing on us), to see them sweat, and to study the earrings on the Schuyler sisters. Close enough to see Eliza cry when her son died (yes, a real tear). Close enough I didn't dare take my eyes off of them to peek at a timepiece or follow along in the program. We were too close to see their feet. I know, tough life. All for only $10.

Ashley could write a much better review of the show. She has been listening to the music, and singing it at home and with her friends. I want to read more about Alexander the Hamilton (or A dot Ham as he refers to himself in a song) the man, and the musical.

I first heard about this show while at a show at Somerset Valley Players. Someone told me she had to study it for class. I think she had a copy of a video of it, but was having troubles getting through the rap songs. I'm not a fan of rap. I dismissed the musical based on hearing it has rap in it. Then I started hearing Ashley sing the songs and watch her get excited about the show. The lyrics reminded us of "Into the Woods" by Stephen Sondheim -- very quick, with lots of hidden meanings in the puns. Ashley owns it on her iPod, but I'll be picking up a real CD because I'm old-school that way.

At the end of the show, as part of Broadway Cares, the Schuyler sisters sang a wrap about donating money to the orphanage Eliza Hamilton started many years ago in honor of her husband, Alexander Hamilton.

After the show we stood in the rain to catch the stars leaving for dinner. Most stayed inside. The woman who plays Eliza (Philippa) came out and signed a drawing Ashley made of her. A couple of the guys came out and signed autographs, but most stayed inside. We saw someone go in with a cake for "King George," plus they had another show at 8 PM.

We admit we had total beginner's luck on this one. Don entered both of our names. Fortunately one of us won. Now you can say you know someone who won the Hamilton Lottery.

A very happy 13-year old

UPDATE: In June we saw a #Ham4Ham show, but did not try the lottery.

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