'Hamilton' tickets come to Chicago. Is the musical's path unusual?

'Hamilton' is set to open in Chicago and London, and a national tour will launch this spring. What does the show's expansion mean for the theater business?

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) performs with other 'Hamilton' cast members at the 2016 Tony Awards.

Audiences now have the chance to snag tickets to the Chicago production of the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton” as the show prepares to branch out to locations such as London and the Windy City. 

Tickets for the Chicago production, where it is set to open in September, went on sale this week. “Hamilton” will also begin in San Francisco in March, and move across the pond to London in 2017. 

Is this plan unusual – and what does it mean for the theater business? 

The Broadway production of the show of course shows no sign of ending, but creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as fellow stars Philippa Soo and Leslie Odom Jr., have announced they will be leaving next month. 

The normal pattern for a successful musical or play is for it to open on Broadway (sometimes preceded by an off-Broadway run, as happened with “Hamilton”), then head out on tour or to other cities such as London. 

Bernard Telsey, who is the casting director for “Hamilton,” told Entertainment Weekly that this plan very much has precedent. If a show is massively successful, sometimes those behind it just try to get the production to as many audiences as possible. 

“We did that on ‘Rent,’ and the same with ‘Wicked,’” Telsey said. “‘Rent’ was successful like that, where they had that many productions right away. ‘Wicked’ had two tours simultaneously on top of Broadway.”

Variety writer Gordon Cox points out that other touring Broadway shows can even be helped by one smash touring show like “Hamilton.” “Ticketbuyers pony up for an entire season of programming in order to guarantee tickets to one hot show – and with 'Hamilton' on the docket, the increase has already been huge,” Mr. Cox writes.

Greg Holland, CEO of the theater presenter SHN, which is based in San Francisco (where the tour of "Hamilton" will begin this spring), told Variety that he believes the amount of members will be double that of last year.

“We’re reaching a much younger ticketbuyer — ticketbuyers in their 20s and early 30s, who don’t usually buy subscription memberships,” Mr. Holland said. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.