I had hopes but no expectations of snagging a ticket to “Hamilton” but on a rainy Wednesday, having found myself near Times Square (while visiting a friend at the Hearst building on 8th avenue) and with a free afternoon until dinner with another friend, I sauntered over to TKTS. No matinee Hamilton tickets, as expected.
Then I remembered reading about a ticket lottery at the theater on 46th where Hamilton is running. At 10:45 am a line was already forming and when I learned the slips for the lottery would be available at 11:30, with the drawing at noon for the 2 pm matinee, I decided “why not?” Very minor time commitment and it was fun talking to other people in line including a couple from the Twin Cities. By 11:30, as promised, the line was now about 300-400 people long and soon after dropping my slip in a bucket, I started making other plans for the day. With 20 tix available, and winners able to claim up to 2 tix each, It was a long shot.
Still, it was great to be in the crowd as a guy drew slips out of the bucket and shouted them out with a bullhorn. Excited winners screamed and the crowd cheered them on. After the first 20 tix ($10 front row seats) were gone, the bullhorn guy announced an unexpected treat…10 standing room tix, $40 each.
For a brief moment, I tried to imagine what it would be like to hear my name through that bullhorn. And then suddenly, I heard “Betsy” and then some variation of my last name. I was stunned. I don’t remember raising my hand (as winners are supposed to do to indicate if they want one or two tix) but the crowd pushed me forward (I was way in the back) and sure enough, there was my scrawl on one of the slips the bullhorn guy held. WOW! About 15 “winners” collected and paid for tickets and then we left to grab a quick lunch before the show. (I found a decent tuna sandwich nearby.) Must admit it was really cool to unexpectedly feel lucky. Kind of felt like Mary Tyler Moore when she throws her hat up in the air.
At 1:30 I was back in line to get into the theater with regular tix holders including three women from Vermont and New Hampshire who bought their tix last May for $190 each. The standing room slots were behind the mezzanine, center aisle, each numbered and assigned by ticket. I stood next to a sweet young woman from Massachusetts who knew the Hamilton score by heart and was thrilled. We were all thrilled. Standing for 3 hours with my iffy back wasn’t a big problem. We could lean into the half wall in front of us. And we had plenty of room to dance to the hip hop score. Kind of like a classy mosh pit. We couldn’t see the upper balcony of the set unless we rushed a few feet to the aisle and bent on our knees, which was a strange way to see a show but seemed sort of right, given how I got my ticket.
I loved loved loved the show, the music ( catchy hip hop and beyond), the dancing, the story, the staging. Who knew Hamilton was so interesting? (This college history major didn’t.) Now I want to read the Hamilton bio and of course, get the Hamilton CD. I also really appreciated the Hamilton folks doing this for us little people. What fun it would be to be the bullhorn guy.