“Hamilton” Opens at the Richard Rodgers Theatre

A Round Of Rave Reviews for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Masterpiece

hamiltonOn August 6, 2015, Hamilton played its opening night performance at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. It had been running in previews on Broadway since its first performance on July 13, 2015. Prior to this, Hamilton had an extremely successful run at Off-Broadway at the Public Theater from January 20, 2015 to May 3, 2015. After receiving universal acclaim in the smaller venue, buzz abounded and headlines soared about this new musical with book, lyrics, and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, which also stars him in the title role. Along with producers Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, and Jill Furman, the Public Theater brought the show to Broadway. Like the Public run, this production is directed by Thomas Kail (Magic/Bird, Lombardi, In the Heights), and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler. The show is praised for its reimagining of the period in history in which our founding fathers began this country. Rather than focusing on the traditional hero George Washington, who also appears in the show, the heart of this tale is on Alexander Hamilton, our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury. Furthermore, instead of cast with traditional white males, this show features black and Latino performers singing musical styles ranging from rap to hip hop to R&B, as well as traditional musical theatre.

Strong Praise for the Production and the PerformersHAMILTON

Ben Brantley of The New York Times began his rave review with a single line: “Yes, it really is that good.” Admitting that he was among the critics to give the show universal praise in its previous incarnation, he said he had begun to wonder if the hype was really a match for the quality of the production. However, after seeing the enhanced version in the Broadway theatre, Brantley continued his praise and gave the show his blessing. At one point he even suggested that people should mortgage their houses in order to afford a ticket to this show, if only to reassure themselves that the American musical is still alive and well. The other major critics were no less appreciative. David Cote from Time Out New York called this show the greatest American musical in decades, proclaiming his love for this show in both simple and extravagant terms. Jeremy Gerard in Deadline called the show electrifying, stating that it is destined for the record books, and comparing it to both Rent and A Chorus Line from previous eras. Jesse Green from Vulture remarked on the incredible number of songs in the show – 34 – and concluded that the ambition and the scope of this show are a major breakthrough in the art form. Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News said that Hamilton made Broadway officially the coolest place on the planet.

Bull’s Eye Box Office, and Somehow Increasing

In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending August 2, 2015, Hamilton brought in $1,490,816. This represents 111.67% of the show’s gross potential across the eight performances. This was the third full week of the run, although the first two weeks had just seven performances each. Still, with each progressive week, Hamilton has managed to increase its overall box office gross as well as the percentage reached of its gross potential. Granted, this past week the percentage of gross potential increased from 111.51% to 111.67%, which is a small increase, and yet it continues to show that people will pay top dollar and see this show however they can. Presently, the top ticket price is $275.00, but perhaps as the show continues to be a hot ticket, the producers may choose to practice dynamic pricing and also to raise the cost of premium tickets. This will enable to show to break even more quickly, entering profits so that the investors can make back more of their money sooner. For the ticketbuyer, this means that Hamilton will continue to be a very tough show to see. In order to see it, one must be resourceful – both in terms of finding a way to get a ticket, and in terms of affording one.

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Christina Morningside
Christina Morningside is a native New Yorker who grew up loving theater and writing for various periodicals on the subject including Playbill and BroadwayWorld. Christina is an alumna from Columbia University in New York City and serves on several historic preservation committees in Manhattan. When Christina is not at a Broadway show, she can be found outdoors in Vermont enjoying snowshoeing or skiing in the winter and hiking mountains with her husband and their yellow lab in the summer.
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