The daily news out of the United States of America of late may be relentlessly dark and depressing, but Lin-Manuel Miranda’s upbeat hip-hop-inflected musical take on the country’s origin story continues to draw a crowd.
Hamilton, which tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, continues to pull in the big bucks at the box office on Broadway – more than US$2-million a week, second only to a Hugh Jackman-led production of The Music Man. It also still has three touring productions on the road in North America, two of which happen to be in Canada this month.
The touring company dubbed “And Peggy,” which performed in Vancouver last month, is on stage right now in Edmonton and then heads to the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary from July 12 to 31.
While Hamilton remains a hit – even two years after a filmed production landed on Disney+ mid-pandemic – the time when it was impossible to get a ticket to see it live has passed. Ironically, seeing this musical about the man on the American 10-dollar bill is one of the few things that hasn’t gone up in price owing to inflation.
So, caveat emptor, Canadians who want to finally get to see the show live: Google “Hamilton” and “Edmonton” and the first results to come up are ads for resale sites that will seriously overcharge you.
On Monday, on Tickets-Centre.com, I found a second-balcony seat for Wednesday evening’s performance in Edmonton at Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on sale for US$180 and a seat in the first balcony on sale for US$519. On Stubhub.com, meanwhile, resellers were trying to get as much as C$219 for a seat in the second balcony and C$463 for one on the orchestra level.
But the Hamilton run in Edmonton (like the one coming soon in Calgary) is not sold out – and, in fact, there appear to be hundreds of tickets still available at each performance. As I was writing this newsletter, it was still possible to get seats through the official source, Ticketmaster, to that same Wednesday evening show on the second balcony for $44.75 – though, add in $11.75 for a “service fee,” $2.50 for a “facility fee” and $10 for an “order processing fee,” and that ticket actually costs $69. A centre orchestra ticket, meanwhile, was going for $189 with fees included.
We may be overdue for an American-style revolution against Ticketmaster fees – but you should still book through the company’s website for the Alberta stops of the tour. Avoiding Google results with the word “ad” over them is a good rule of thumb when seeking tickets to any show.
That said, for the upcoming Ottawa run of Hamilton at the NAC, there are only a smattering of tickets available at each performance – often just single seats.
Before you’re tempted to hit up the resellers, however, it’s worth remembering that Mirvish Productions will be bringing Miranda’s musical back to Toronto in February, 2023, at last, after its first attempt to present the show on tour was interrupted by the pandemic in 2020. The Toronto producer has not listed exact dates yet, but the show is expected to have an initial run of 10 to 12 weeks at the Princess of Wales – and word on the street is that this may be the last stop for the “And Peggy” tour, so it will likely extend as long as the demand is there.
Before dropping $500 on a scalped seat then, Ottawans, consider that you could get a train ticket to Toronto, a night in a hotel and a ticket to Hamilton in the winter for that same amount of money.
There’s not yet a Canadian production of Hamilton in the cards, alas. It’s only commercial tours with almost entirely American casts coming up to entertain us (subsidized by tens of millions of dollar in COVID-19 relief money from the American government, incidentally).
If you want to see some homegrown musical-theatre talent, however, there are a lot of other options on hand at the moment.
Vancouver’s a hot spot right now with the Arts Club’s production of Kinky Boots now playing to July 31 and Theatre Under the Stars in Stanley Park about to open productions of Something Rotten! and We Will Rock You this week.
Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage is currently performing a Canadian musical, which is always nice to see: The Hockey Sweater, based on the Roch Carrier story, a show which has previously had successful runs in Montreal and Ottawa.
Also in the Canadian department, there’s Tell Tale Harbour, a new show based on the film The Grand Seduction, at the Charlottetown Festival in PEI – and & Juliet, a Shakespeare sequel of sorts mashed up with the hits of Max Martin, which I’ll be reviewing this week in Toronto.
After that, I’ll be off to the Stratford Festival for the openings of Jordi Mand’s stage adaptation of Little Women, All’s Well That Ends Well and a brand-new comedy called Every Little Nookie. Look for my reviews online starting later this week.
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