Ticket Bots? An Unfair Duel From First Click

One of the biggest problems facing theater fans currently is ticket bots. These programs are written and used by many resale websites to quickly buy and relist tickets for popular shows such as Hamilton. Hamilton currently grosses about 2 million dollars a week according to broadwayworld.com with the average face value individual ticket price being about $200 a seat.

The New York Times, however, found that when Lin Manuel-Miranda was still starring in the titular role, scalpers were asking over $1,000 per ticket. In order to get some more information on the ticket bot problem of Hamilton, The New York times designed their own bot to track information on the stolen tickets.

Getting tickets is such an endeavor that Playbill.com has posted a list of the 8 best ways to actually obtain tickets. Number 1 on their list is still just buying them straight from the box office at face value Standard tickets start at $139 and Premium tickets start at $549. Unfortunately for me, the only way I’ll be able to go to Hamilton is if I win the lotto while I’m there for Thanksgiving or if someone gifts me tickets.

Miranda has taken a firm stance against bots by partnering with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to promote the BOTS Act (Better On-line Ticket Sales Act of 2016).

In an op-ed piece written for The New York Times entitled Stop the Bots From Killing Broadway, Miranda said,

To use another metaphor from “Guys and Dolls”: Big Julie is using loaded dice, and you and I do not have a chance. Tickets are taken out of circulation, punishing people who can’t afford to pay more than face value. The extra money doesn’t provide a better concert or show experience for you, the fan. Instead, it goes straight to the broker’s bottom line.

He sent out a call for action to all to call their representatives and since the article was published NY’s Ticket Bot legislation has passed.

Ham4Ham

Due to the popularity of Hamilton and how hard it is to get tickets the creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda decided that the fans needed a fair way to try to get in the room where it happens. The ticket lottery, lovingly called Ham4Ham, is a brand new breed of Broadway lottery. The premise is simple: arrive at the Richard Rodgers and enter your name in a bucket for a chance to win a $10 front row seat to that night’s show.

Where Hamilton differs from other lottery systems is the addition of what they call the Ham4Ham lottery show where Miranda and other actors come out and perform 3-minute segments. The shows happened before the second show of a two-show day and on special occasions.

Wednesday, August 31 marked the last day of regular Ham4Ham shows, approximately a year after they started. The shows started two days after the broadway previews started in July 2015. The first Ham4Ham recreated a rap promo Miranda did with fellow cast member Jonathan Groff in 2008.

Not only did Ham4ham utilize the cast and crew of Hamilton, Miranda also made a point to utilize local artists like ____ he made sure to include other broadway competition like Aladdin and On Your Feet.

For the last Ham4Ham, Miranda contacted the new host Rory O’Malley and requested a performance of a cut song from Hamilton.

So congratulations to Hamilton for upping the broadway lottery system and congratulations on such a long run of wonderful performances.

A Look at the Emsemble

Almost every good musical has an ensemble, a group of fellow actors to help the main characters get where they need to be. These other 10 blogs will help to inform the main character, me, on what is happening on Broadway right now.

  1. NewMusicalTheatre.com-Although their blog hasn’t been updated in a few months New Musical Theater.com still has a very active facebook page that highlights new modern musicals.
  2. Broadway and Me-This blog offers a great, personal view on new musicals and plays and will help me learn more about shows that I can’t see.
  3. Broadway World-This blog has a cool industry spotlight where they break down the numbers week by week of various shows.
  4. Cara-Joy David-David offers great insight into actors themselves along with reviews on what their shows are like.
  5. Act Three-The Reviews-This blog provides reviews on plays and musicals that are new to Broadway. Reading reviews is very important for someone who can’t actually go see every show as it opens.
  6. The New York Times-Keeping in the theme with knowing the Broadway news as it happens, following along with the Arts Beat for The New York Times will be incredibly helpful.
  7. The Producer’s Perspective-This blog provides an interesting look at how musicals get made from behind the scenes.
  8. Contemporary Musical Theater.com Blog-This blog provides some great insight into how to get hired on Broadway and how that side of musicals work.
  9. “Up in the Cheap Seats”-This blog takes a look at theater’s past and present together.
  10. Playbill.com-You can’t be an informed Broadway citizen without utilizing Playbill.com. Playbill offers news as well as reviews and highlights for upcoming performances.

So there’s a quick look at who the supporting cast of our musical is, let’s hope they inform both the main character and the audience well.

Broadway.com Vlogs

One of the biggest challenges in a Broadway fan’s life used to be getting to see the person behind their favorite character. Thanks to one of Broadway’s biggest news outlets Broadway.com that struggle has been lessened. Starting around 4 years ago Broadway.com has given a camera to actors in a wide variety of shows and told them to just record. This inside the theater access is unparalleled in its inclusively. Most vlog series run for 8 weeks or 8 episodes (sometimes the actors are too busy to turn in their footage one week).

The longest running vlog series to date was ‘Hey Kid: Backstage at “If/Then” with James Snyder’ at 24 episodes, with most being over 10 minutes long. The biggest thing that Hey Kid was successful at was transforming these on stage powerhouse people into normal people who work with their friends. Almost every episode, Snyder and friends would answer questions from twitter while just sitting in his dressing room eating snacks.

Not only are Broadway.com vlogs a great way to meet the actors behind your favorite character, they provide a look into how some costumes and sets are designed and work. In episode 1 of The Princess Diary: Backstage at “Cinderella” with Laura Osnes, Osnes takes the camera with her to a fitting of all of her costumes including the white Cinderella ball gown.

Another notable vlog series is ‘Vlog of Purple Summer: Backstage at SPRING AWAKENING with Andy Mientus’. This vlog series took place at Deaf West’s production of Spring Awakening, which became the first musical on Broadway to include American Sign Language with deaf and handicapped actors. The last episode of the series was done entirely in ASL.

If you’re looking for more great Broadway.com vlogs to watch check out NewMusicalTheater.com’s top 7 list.

Mary-Margret Annab at NewMusicalTheater.com said it best when she said,

“One of the most important parts of theatre is that it is impactful, no matter the story you’re telling, and video blogs offer a way to make that impact felt all over the world. They connect theatre lovers everywhere and remind all of us dreamers that although the road to professional theatre is hard, it is not impossible.”

Not only have the Broadway.com vlogs become a great way for the actors to get themselves out in the public eye, they’ve become a great location for fans to discuss their favorite shows/songs/characters/etc. in the comments.

Twitter and Hamilton: A Perfect Pair?

Hamilton: An American Musical debuted on Broadway in August 2015, effectively changing the landscape of Broadway forever. The show, which centers on Alexander Hamilton, is told (almost) entirely through rap. Hamilton was nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards, winning 11, including Best Musical, and was also the recipient of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The most surprising thing to come out of Hamilton’s success is the rabid fanbase that erupted practically overnight.

Twitter has become one of the most popular places for fans to discuss their feelings and thoughts about the show, in part thanks to the creator, Lin Manuel-Miranda’s active twitter page.

Fans are able to interact with not only Miranda but, most of the cast and ensemble through their pages as well. This leads to interaction on a variety of topics from specific Hamilton related questions to questions about makeup recommendations as well as very serious conversations with Miranda about his son’s favorite children’s TV show Chugginton. Miranda also makes an effort to post uplifting good morning and good night messages to his 755 thousand followers most days.

However, due to the somewhat instantaneous nature of twitter along with the illusion of just talking to a friend some fans have had issues drawing the line when they have a chance to be ‘in the room where it happens’.

Due to this issue, Hamilton has started to employ more security guards outside of the stage door to make sure the actors are able to come and go freely and safely.

Despite the few fans that have issues discerning Internet interaction with real interaction, Twitter has made Hamilton more accessible for the millions of fans that currently can’t afford tickets to see it in person.