At last, Hamilton is coming to Philadelphia, the town in which a lot of it happened.
On Friday, the Kimmel Center and its partner, the Shubert Organization, announced that the original national touring company of Hamilton will come to the Forrest Theatre from Aug. 27 to Nov. 17, 2019, a whopping nearly-12-week run.
Ticket packages are now on sale that can guarantee buyers a seat to the show, but at this point no tickets are being sold for Hamilton alone.
The only way right now to guarantee a seat to Hamilton next year is to buy a seven-show package for the 2018-19 season. There are two packages: one for returning subscribers, another for everybody else.
The "legacy" package is open to renewing Broadway Philadelphia subscribers. It gets you a seat for the first week of Hamilton. It also gets you seats to Love Never Dies, Fiddler on the Roof, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Miss Saigon, Anastasia, and Cats. The price ranges from $246 to $908, depending on the day of the week you're buying and the level in which you sit.
The second package is different: It's open to newbies. "We're aware of a new, growing interest in Broadway," says Crystal Brewe, vice president of sales and marketing at the Kimmel. "So we designed a package that includes returning shows and popular hits, to capitalize on the present phenomenon of folks who are new to musicals but are learning they love them."
This package gets you a seat for the second week of Hamilton. It also gets you seats to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Beautiful — the Carole King Musical, the 20th anniversary tour of Rent, Miss Saigon, The Book of Mormon, and Cats. The price ranges from $281 to $944.
There will be individual Hamilton tickets someday, somewhere down the line, but no one knows when. "The date for individual tickets is still in negotiation," Brewe says.
Tickets went on sale starting at 9 a.m. Friday at kimmelcenter.org/Broadway1819, and more than 1,500 people had queued up within the first two minutes. For much of the first day of ticket sales Friday, more than 2,000 buyers were waiting in the online queue for their turn to purchase subscriptions.
At some points, the volume strained the site's servers, and the Kimmel Center advised buyers to expect "long wait times … in the next few days."
The Kimmel said Friday that preliminary sales figures will not be available until next week. "Believe me, we're all hands on deck, taking orders," said Leslie Tyler, director of media relations.
The Hamilton news was part of the center's announcement of its 2018-19 Broadway Philadelphia season, another ambitious mix of fresh-from-Broadway shows, Philly premieres, and popular favorites. That mix – especially with Hamilton – seeks to continue the record success of last season and beckon new subscribers.
The rest of the lineup:
And last but not least, that hip-hop, periwigged immigrant guy.
That's some property, that Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash hit has prompted a keen new interest in musicals.
On Broadway, according to Variety.com, gross revenues have grown fast since Hamilton's July 2015 Broadway debut, with musicals pulling in more dollars, plays fewer. In the 2017 calendar year, Broadway earned a record $1.6 billion.
For the Kimmel, Hamilton has already meant something of a windfall. Last March, it announced Hamilton was coming in 2018-19. "The fact we announced it early," Brewe says, "ignited something of a musicals mania." Boom: a 228 percent jump in subscription sales for 2017-18, owing in part to guaranteed Hamilton tickets for those who subscribed to both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
The Kimmel's 2017-18 Broadway Philadelphia season has been a success, with everything from Les Misérables to Something Rotten! selling out. And at various venues around our area, at least 27 musicals are being staged in the first half of 2018 alone.