Exorbitant Hamilton tickets reflect founding father’s life
“Hamilton: The Satirical.” More tickets were announced available this week to the politically partisan Broadway musical “Hamilton: An American Musical.” But only the super rich will be able to afford seats that allows them to see the whole stage and even the cheap, obstructed seats will still cost in excess of $200. Hamilton would be slamming the producers in his newspaper editorials if he were alive today
By Ray Hanania
Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of America, was obsessed with building the new nation’s financial system.
He also launched the Federalist Party, founded the Coast Guard, and published the New York Post Newspaper, which if he were alive today would probably use to hold his puke after realizing of the corruption of the American news media system.
Hamilton was such a self-righteous person that after he used his newspaper to repeatedly libel political rival Aaron Burr. Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel and while Hamilton fired his gun into the sky, maybe in arrogance or not believing the system he set up could result in mutual destruction through gun violence, Burr fired right at Hamilton, fatally injuring him.
Hamilton died the next day, on July 12, 1804.
That would have been the end of it except that producer and playright Lin-Manuel Miranda, took a 2004 biography of Hamilton and turned it into a hit musical that brought the iconic Revolutionary War figure into the modern-age of hip-hop, rap and propaganda. (Miranda plays the role of Hamilton in the Broadway performances in New York City.)
And it would be a great play to actually watch, if it wasn’t so expensive to purchase tickets.
This week, Hamilton announced that more tickets would be available for purchase, but many would-be theater-goers probably don’t realize that most of the tickets will cost the equivalent of their children’s education fund. Those tickets that are affordable are categorized as “limited view seating” or “obstructed view.” Check it out for yourself.
“Hamilton: An American Musical” has been on Broadway and in many theaters around the country including Chicago since February 2015.
I’d like to see it. But even with my resources as a successful former journalist, now a columnist and communications consultant, the tickets are way out of my reach.
I’m not paying $500 to watch people in fluffing shirts twist history for the sake of entertainment, and even politics.
Oh, you can purchase cheaper tickets, for about $200 if you are willing to sit behind a column, poll or obstruction — Chicago’s CIBC Theater offers many of these “cheap seat” tickets with the notation that you will have “limited viewseating” or “obstructed viewing.”
“Limited View Seating?” What moron came up with that category of seating for 200 plus dollars?
Hamilton helped found America 241 years ago with little more than an ink pen and onion paper, and no one in today’s theatrical market, including the Broadway in Chicago theater group can come up with a theater design that allows every seat to view a theatrical performance clearly without visual intrusion?
What the theater does is reserve the great and very expensive seats for Chicago’s hoi polloi, and then offers the trash to everyone else. The peons. The pedestrian and poor masses who sweat hard through their struggles to earn enough money to put food on their table let alone to enjoy a twisted, rhythmic distortion of American history.
Yes, it’s probably entertaining. And yes, everyone should be able to enjoy the theater. But that’s not what happens. In today’s world of outrageous high salaries — we pay athletes tens of millions to catch baseballs and pig skin footballs, and robber baron corporate thieves to not only earn obese salaries but also repulsively massive bonuses.
Yes, the life of the “Rich and Famous” is something to gawk at. But greed is one of the great sins of mankind. It’s not enough to earn what you need to live comfortably. You have to exponentially increase your earnings to become a Master of the Universe.
And those over-indulged, privileged and entitled “MotU’s” can laugh and cheer and swirl expensive French wines as they quote Shakespeare as if they knew him, and flaunt their diamonds, rubies and haughty appellations.
That’s why so many people were upset when in November 2016 one of the Broadway performance cast members, Brandon Dixon, who portrays Aaron Burr in the Broadway show, delivered a stunning political rebuke from the stage to Vice President Mike Pence who had left his seat and was leaving the theater during the curtain call at the end of the play.
According to media reports, Dixon stated from the stage, and surrounded by the cast, “Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us.”
Of course, Dixon was applauded and Pence and the Trump administration were attacked when they questioned the appropriateness of making such outwardly political comments from the stage.
So, you know what. I’m not wasting $600 to get seats that are not obstructed at Chicago’s performance at the CIBC Theater. And I am not spending $90 for seats in the Nose Bleed Section way in the back Balcony where the air is thin, the view-sight is distant, with an angle of descent requires rappelling.
I can just hear my wife telling me as we sit in the cheaper, “limited view seating,” which only allows you to seat apart of the stage, “Honey. I thought Hamilton was in this play. Isn’t he?”
“Yes, dear. He is in the play. But only the super rich can see that part of the stage where he is performing. He’s in that part of the stage that is not in our view from these theater seats.”
“Oh,” she might snicker. “Do theater builders do that on purpose? Create seats that only allow the viewing of 80 percent of the stage?”
“Yes,” I would replay. “It’s the miracle of America that Alexander Hamilton failed to envision when he fired that shot into the sky and was struck in his chest by the bullet from Aaron Burr’s muzzle.”
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter. Email him at email@example.com.)