My takeaways after watching Hamilton in NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, & London

By the time this blog entry is published, I’d have already watched Hamilton five different times. Five times? Seriously? Well, would you rather I do drugs? LOL!!! Okay, probably not the best joke, but I, or shall I say my family love this musical, we love watching musical theatre, and Hamilton just happened to be one of those ground-breaking shows that took the theatre-world by storm.

Broadway – April 2017

We first watched it in April 2017 on Broadway, and I bought the tickets to the show nine months prior. Here’s what I wrote back then as to how American Express helped me get 3rd Row Orchestra Seats at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

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Hamilton NYC
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Us after watching Hamilton NYC – April 2017

 

San Francisco – June 2017

Months before we caught the show on Broadway, Nancy and I also bought tickets to Hamilton in San Francisco, June 2017. This was our 2nd time watching the show after catching it for the first time in NYC.

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Los Angeles – September and October 2017

The show moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  Nancy and I caught the LA show in September, and then a few weeks later, we watched the show with our big group. I also organized a group of friends and family there were 50 of us altogether.

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Great orchestra seats at the Hollywood Pantages
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Hamilton Los Angeles – Sept 2017
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Part of our group of 50 – Hamilton Los Angeles – Oct 2017

Hamilton Los Angeles – Oct 2017

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Hamilton Los Angeles – Oct 2017

London’s West End – June 2018

However, long before we saw it for the first time in NYC, I got wind  that Hamilton was going overseas to London. It was in January 2017 when I purchased two tickets. I had no tickets yet to fly to London. It was a year and a half away (the show we saw in London was in June 2018). I knew I’d find my way back to London. Hamilton became the catalyst.

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Obligatory selfie outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre NYC – April 2017

What earning miles and points did to me

Yes, I bought tickets to Hamilton without having concrete plans to fly to London in the summer 2018. But I was not worried. I knew that I could get airline tickets without having to pay in full and by simply using my points earned with my credit cards. What if I ended up not booking the tickets? I have friends and family in London who I know would gladly accept these tickets as gifts.

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On our way to Europe, we spent the day in NYC, and of course, we stopped by to take pics at the Richard Rodgers Theatre – June 2018

A year had passed since Jan 2017 and I still had no plans or travel arrangements to London. It wasn’t until April 2018 when I purchased my return trip to London. I made a European vacation out of it. Instead of just flying from LA to London, I took my daughter on a whirlwind vacation which started in Los Angeles to New York City to Porto, Portugal to Rome and Naples, Italy to the UK – Manchester, and finally, London. What a way of ending our European summer vacation with Hamilton.

Face value tickets

I’m a big proponent of not paying more than the face value when it comes to watching musical theatre. It was what we did when we watched shows like Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton in NYC. For Hamilton NYC, we paid $199 per ticket and we sat in the 3rd Row Orchestra. We bought those tickets ten months prior to watching the show in April 2017. All those around us paid over the face value (some as high as $1000 per ticket). Click here for the details on how I got these seats.

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We didn’t catch Hamilton in the winter of 2018, but we still stopped by during the 1st blizzard in NYC 2018.

Same with Dear Evan Hansen. We had no tickets to see the show when the six of us traveled to NYC in April 2017. Instead, we took our chances and got face value tickets in the orchestra on the day of the show. The tickets were $189, while those next to us paid after-market prices of nearly $500. We visit NYC quite a bit, and we know of ways to avoid paying full price. We did go to NYC twice in 2017 and 2x in 2018 and watched as many as 11 Broadway shows during each visit. Here’s our strategy in getting discounted tickets to Broadway shows.

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Nancy & I at the Pantages – 2nd time watching the Los Angeles production of Hamilton Oct 2017

 

West End vs Broadway

One thing that sticks out the most for me was the striking difference with the distance between the theatres in New York City and London. In NYC, majority of the Broadway theatres somehow fell between 42nd St and West 54th St aka the Theatre District. There is one other theatre that presents Broadway shows in the Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side. When you walk down these streets, you’re almost guaranteed to see a theatre or two, or more.

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The West End, on the other hand, the theatre felt more spread out. From the couple of times I’ve traveled to London, a heavy concentration of the theatre were near Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Hamilton was shown at Victoria Palace Theatre near Victoria Station, and if I’m not mistaken, the other theatre close to Hamilton was the Apollo Victoria Theatre where Wicked is currently playing.

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What comes next?

Now that I’ve seen the show in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles (2x), and London, what comes next? I can tell you that I have no immediate plans to catch it anytime, but you never know. For now, if you’ve yet to catch the show yourself, I hope that my tips here have helped in preparing how to best increase your chances in not paying more than the face value for Hamilton tickets. Good luck

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