“Hamilton” $10 ticket lottery brings show prices down to earth — for some

Touring company of Hamilton. (Photo via Hamilton: An American Musical’s Facebook page.)

For Seattle fans of the wildly popular musical “Hamilton,” but who are also priced out of the current $255 to $1,361 range, there’s some hope.

Starting on Sunday, fans hoping to score $10 tickets to the hot show can enter in an online lottery. The lottery will make 40 tickets available — out of about 2,800 seats — at for $10 at every show during its run at the Paramount Theater from Feb. 6 to March 18.

It’s not the first time that producers have offered “Hamilton” for a Hamilton. The producers of the show started offering an in-person lottery for $10 tickets for the Broadway show several years ago, and then created their own app for an online lottery, which was available for shows in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

As a result, the audiences for “Hamilton” were more diverse and younger than the ones usually at popular Broadway productions, show producers and app developers told the news program Marketplace. Industry group The Broadway League reported that about 77 percent of Broadway audiences are white and the average household income of a Broadway theatergoer is $194,940.

That disparity is not unexpected. Tickets for musicals more than $100 are common. While there are tickets as low as $29 available for the upcoming touring show of “Mamma Mia!”at the 5th Avenue Theatre starting next month, tickets closer to the stage are as high as $176. Last year, tickets for “Here Lies Love,” the rock musical about former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos, at the Paramount were priced at $93 to $103.

Ironically, “Hamilton” has been praised for putting at centerstage people of color —who have often been excluded from top billing in major shows. Author and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda tells the story of Alexander Hamilton’s critical role in the American Revolution through rap and R&B.

All the major roles of the country’s founding fathers and mothers are filled with non-white actors, pushing audience members to consider the contrast of what America was with what America is today.

However, even by musical theater standards, Hamilton tickets have been priced higher than other similar shows, which commentators throughout the U.S. have attributed to the high demand.

The Paramount and Seattle Theatre Group have declined to comment on why “Hamilton” ticket prices were so high in Seattle.

But there are theaters testing the theory that lowering ticket prices for shows could serve to make audiences more diverse. Signature Theatre, an off-Broadway theater New York City, has tested the theory for the past 11 years, recently bringing average prices of its shows down to $25, but with mixed results, according to WNYC.

In the Pacific Northwest, other theater groups also have been working with casting and ticket costs to push for greater inclusion in their audiences. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival heavily advertises its lower-priced ticket options and notes its color-conscious casting of classic plays. Seattle Opera also has attempted to diversify its audiences, staging productions such as “Cinderella En Espana” with ticket prices at $5, in locations outside of its usual McCaw Hall home.

For a chance to see “Hamilton” in Seattle, the best bets are:

  • #EduHam, a program with a mission to give high school students studying U.S. History the opportunity to see the show for $10. Representatives of The Paramount confirmed that the program will take place but have not released additional details.
  • The digital lottery program via the Hamilton app, available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. There will be 40 tickets at the $10 price available for every show. Lottery entries must be submitted two days prior to the date of the show. Entries need to be submitted as early as Sunday, Feb. 4, for opening night.