Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is not just one of the best Broadway shows of our time, with 11 Tony Awards to its name: It's a history-making masterwork and bona fide crossover cultural phenomenon. But since everyone wants to be in the room where it happens, cheap tickets are nearly impossible to score. Here’s how you can get them with just $10 and a dream.
THE TEN-DOLLAR FOUNDING FATHER
At each performance of Hamilton on Broadway, 46 seats in the first and second rows are distributed through a digital lottery, known affectionately as #HAM4HAM. Those seats cost just $10. (Yes, that’s the bill with Hamilton’s face on it.) About 40 $10 lottery tickets are also available for the musical’s performances at Los Angeles’s Pantages Theatre—which are scheduled to resume on January 26, 2022—and for each of the musical's two current national tours.
I WAS POOR, I KNEW IT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO RISE UP!
For many people, this digital lottery may be the only way to see Hamilton. Tickets to the show on Broadway currently cost from $149 to $399 a pop—and on the resale market the prices often go much higher.
BUT YOU DON’T GET A WIN UNLESS YOU PLAY IN THE GAME
To enter the Hamilton lottery for performances on Broadway or in Los Angeles, you must first download the Hamilton app and set up an account on it. Some national-tour lotteries also offer non-app options for entering; if you prefer that, go to the general Hamilton lottery landing page and click on your location’s name for instructions.
WEAPON IN MY HAND, A COMMAND
Entering the lottery using the Hamilton app is a snap: You just pick the city you want, find the performance or performances you’d like to see, and hit the “Enter Now” button for them. A drawing is held every Thursday at noon for all of the following week’s performances; submissions are accepted starting a week before that, on Fridays at 10am. (There’s no advantage to entering early in the week, because all submissions go into the same virtual pile.) You are allowed to submit only one request per performance, but you can submit for as many different performances that week as you like—and if you win for more than one, you can attend more than one. (Note that these rules have changed several times since the lottery debuted in 2016.)
GRAB A FRIEND, THAT’S YOUR SECOND
You can enter the lottery for either one or two seats. Always enter it for two. A friend you bring to Hamilton will be a friend for life.
I’M NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT
The lottery is held shortly after the window closes for entries on Thursdays at noon. Notifications are sent between then and 4pm, via email and push notifications. If you win, take a moment to freak out, but then act fast! You only have two hours to confirm your purchase and pay for your tickets. If you don’t do it within that two-hour window, you waste your shot.
SCHUYLER’S SEAT WAS UP FOR GRABS, SO I TOOK IT
Sorry, but no: Winning tickets are nontransferable. If you can’t use your tickets, no one else can. Make sure to bring a valid photo ID—with the name you bought the tickets under—when you pick up your winning tickets, which are available at the theater’s box office starting two hours before the performance.
JUST YOU WAIT, JUST YOU WAIT…
We’re not going to sugarcoat this: Your chances of winning the Hamilton lottery are pretty slender. At the height of Hamilton demand, there were an estimated 10,000 entries for each performance. That number has surely gone down, but entering the lottery is by no means a guarantee of winning. Get used to seeing the big red X with a “Try Again!” message on your app.
THERE’S HOPE FOR OUR ASS, AFTER ALL!
If at first you don’t succeed, do try again—and again and again and again. In the COVID era, there has been a general decline in theater attendance, which means your chances of winning the lottery are probably the best now that they’ve ever been. Take advantage of this moment.
YOU COULD NEVER BE SATISFIED. GOD, I HOPE YOU’RE SATISFIED