The recent television showing of "Hamilton" brought back many fond memories of my attempts to see the iconic musical.
"Hamilton" had its beginnings at the Public Theatre in downtown Manhattan in 2015. Shows were packed, so I went into Manhattan on its last day there to try to snare one of the twenty $20 lottery tickets being offered for the final matinee or evening show.
Unfortunately about 400 people had the same idea.
My name wasn’t selected for either performance, but I later lucked out in another way. Hanging around in the lobby, unwilling to leave just yet, I curled up on the floor to read my newspaper.
At one point, I looked up and there was singer Judy Collins next to me at the refreshment stand. No one else was around. I gave her my "I-know-who-you-are-but-I-won’t-bother-you" look and she nodded appreciatively.
When the show finished, the audience — including actor Paul Rudd (a nod for Paul, too) — filed out of the theater.
I went back to my newspaper. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, the cast emerged. There’s Lin-Manuel Miranda! Daveed Diggs! Leslie Odom Jr.! Philippa Soo! And, interestingly, few in the crowd budged. But, not me! I made a beeline toward the actors, posing for photos with each one I could find. Lin-Manuel! Daveed! Leslie! Philippa! And then I caught Jonathan Groff (King George) before he could pedal off on his bicycle!
"Hamilton" opened on Broadway on Aug. 6, 2015, at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. I didn’t rush to buy tickets as they were gobbled up fast. I’d wait until things quieted down.
During its second week, I was meeting a friend in the city for lunch. It was a Wednesday — matinee day — when I was walking past the theater after lunch. Theatergoers were lining up. Hmmm … I stopped. It was 1:25 p.m. The show started at 2 p.m. I wondered if anyone would be selling a spare ticket. 1:30: Nothing happening. 1:40: Well-dressed, middle-aged woman emerges from the crowd. She has a ticket! Seventh row!
"How much?" I asked.
"$90" she responds.
I whip out my wallet when suddenly a fellow swoops in, slaps $90 in her hand, grabs the ticket and rushes to the end of the line to … resell the ticket! Sigh.
1:48: No activity. 1:50: A family, husband, wife, young daughter — I learn later they were Henry, Julie and Vicki from Washington, D.C. — has an extra ticket. Second-to-last row in the balcony.
"$75," I shout before they even announce a price.
The husband smiles. A deal!
I hand over the cash, and at 1:55 in the second-to-last-row sit Henry, Julie, Vicki — and their adopted son, Saul.
2:00 p.m.: The show begins.
Six months after my first attempt, I finally saw "Hamilton" — and it was worth the wait!
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