Why 'Hamilton' Matters, And How To Get Tickets For The Kansas City Run | KCUR

Why 'Hamilton' Matters, And How To Get Tickets For The Kansas City Run

Apr 23, 2019

As of today, Kansas Citians who’ve been eager to see the Pulitzer and Tony-winning musical, "Hamilton," can register for chance to buy tickets.

Since the show's opening in 2015, tickets have been hard to come by in any city where it plays, and the ever-growing fanbase is willing to pay just about anything for a seat.

"It's just so important to us that we make sure that the tickets actually get in the hands of the fans at the prices that the show establishes. That's why this verified fan process is so, so very important," says Leslie Broecker, the president of Broadway Across America-Midwest.

Broadway Across America added the middle step of registering to become a "verified fan" as a safeguard to ensure that the precious tickets don’t immediately fall into the hands of third-party sellers who'll double or triple the price.

Broecker says that during a recent run in Des Moines, $50-$100 tickets were pushed to $1,000 by third-party sellers. She doesn't want to see that happen in Kansas City.

In June, Kansas City "Hamilton" will show 24 times at the Music Hall. Tickets mostly range from $71-$195, though some premium seats top $400. Approximately 42,000 seats will be up for grabs to those who register by April 30, with some seats available to box-office walk-ins.

The unlikely musical about Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, had been nominated for 16 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for drama by 2016. Aside from continuous runs in New York City and Chicago, two "Hamilton" touring companies have zigzagged the nation since 2017.

Shoba Narayan, Ta'Rea Campbell and Nyla Sostre, part of the 'Hamilton' touring company that will visit Kansas City in June.
Credit Joan Marcus / HAMILTON National Tour

Michelle Tyrene Johnson, KCUR's race, identity and culture reporter, saw the show on Broadway a few years ago after finding herself "obsessed." The self-described music-lover and playwright says she normally dislikes musicals. The first time she pulled up the soundtrack, she says, it was out of guilt for not having been previously interested.

The show, which takes place in the 1700s, combines many genres of music.

"There was like a Grandmaster Flash hip-hop throwback in terms of how (composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda) had a character say something, and I was like, 'Oh my god, he did not do that,'" she says.

She decided she needed to see the real thing.

Though funds were low, she saved her money and bought a ticket nine months out, travelled to New York from Kansas City on points she'd saved, and stayed with a friend. Seeing the show was that important.

That's because it turns history on its head, she says. Miranda deliberately writes the Founding Fathers as not white.

"So, Alexander Hamilton actually was a man of color, but everybody else was also portrayed that way. It's about his rise, how he had to fight to be taken seriously. It very much mirrors what it's like to be an immigrant, a person of color, having to do that extra fighting to be taken seriously, which I think is another reason why it appeals to people," Johnson says.

Former Kansas City Star writer Joe Posnanski says his teenage daughter pulled the family into what some call a craze. Now an executive columnist at MLB.com and a columnist at The Athletic, Posnanski says his daughter and her friends had memorized the songs long before they saw the show.

"And they were trying to beat each other," he says. "Particularly 'Guns and Ships' is pretty famous for being certainly the toughest and fastest rap in the history of Broadway. You would see them at school just screaming 'Guns and Ships' at each other."

The lyrics, some of which touch on topics like banking and whether or not to help France after the Revolutionary War, would put any kid to sleep during a history class, he says.

"And suddenly they're the coolest thing in the world. The power of the music, the power of the lyrics, is huge, the power of the story is great," Posnanski says.

After the two made their own pilgrimage to Broadway, Posnanski’s blog post about what became the most important part of the evening for him — watching his daughter's face register the delight of just being in the audience as well as the emotions of the drama itself — went viral.

Broecker wants others to have the same positive experience in seeing "Hamilton" and says she encourages anyone who buys tickets to buy from a reputable source.

Additionally, she wants those who do score seats to cover their barcodes if they decide to flash the tickets on social media: Anyone who has the barcode has the ticket.

Leslie Broecker, Michelle Tyrene Johnson and Joe Posnanski spoke with KCUR on a recent edition of Central Standard.

Follow KCUR contributor Anne Kniggendorf on Twitter, @annekniggendorf.