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The ultimate NYC status symbol — tickets to Hamilton — is now an L.A. obsession, too. Since Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical officially opened at the Pantages Theater on Aug. 16 (it runs through Dec. 30), star and exec requests for house tickets to the nearly sold-out show have been pouring in.
When The Hollywood Reporter asked its Tony-winning creator to name the bold-faced names he’d like to see inside Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre, Lin-Manuel Miranda just couldn’t do it — for good reason. “It’s hard to pick, especially because I know the request list is so crazy already, so if I say a name, I don’t want that person to be like, ‘Great, I’ll take 12 tickets!'” laughed Miranda.
Director Thomas Kail and set designer David Korins also feel the burn. “David changed his email address,” Kail joked to THR, moments before he and Korins sat for a discussion at NeueHouse Hollywood on Aug. 9. “Even I haven’t been able to get in touch with him.” Korins answers, “My email is HamiltonTickets.com and it’s blowing up!”
But seriously, explains Kail, they do have a bit of a strategy as to who gets in. “If you can help facilitate then you do, but saying yes to one person and no to somebody else becomes a slippery slope. So you make a ground rule of what the ring is. Someone asking for tickets for their friend that they like a lot but you’ve never met is probably not going to get very far. I’d rather somebody I’ve never met at all who is working hard get that seat. That and then change your email address.”
While the requests are pouring in locally, Korins says nothing compares to requests at the show’s East Coast home, the Richard Rodgers Theatre. “I can’t imagine the demand [in L.A.] being any more of a fever pitch than it is in New York. Still, two years later, I get probably 30-40 inquiries a day,” says the Tony-nominated set designer, who also worked on Dear Evan Hansen. That said, he still tries. “One of the great perks of our position on the show is that we do have access to tickets, so I’ve tried my best to facilitate for people in my life to get to see the show who otherwise couldn’t.”
For Kail, that includes a smaller circle of beloved connections. “There are a couple teachers in my life who live here and to be able to facilitate for them [is amazing]. I’m here because of them. Those relatives you have that meant something to you. Like way back when before people thought you weren’t going to do anything other than be a decent human being. That’s the best feeling, sharing something you love with them.”
Miranda will be in town for the L.A. run’s opening night, and though he’s booked for a handful of Hollywood projects — including writing music for Disney’s Little Mermaid reimagining and helping to adapt fantasy epic The Kingkiller Chronicles — don’t expect him to uproot and head west permanently. “I’m always happy to live in L.A. for work, but my first musical is literally about how much I don’t ever want to leave Washington Heights, much less leave the city,” he laughed while referencing In the Heights. “I’m a lifer. But I love L.A. I’ve learned to drive in L.A. — first as a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas player virtually. Then I learned to drive it in the real world.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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