Theater|‘Hamilton’ draws giddy crowds on a festive night.
Kristin and Matt Collins, a couple from Annapolis, Md., were standing in line at the Richard Rodgers Theater on the reopening night of “Hamilton” with two extra tickets to give to anyone who wanted them.
A few feet away, Chris Graham and Addie Trivers, two musical theater students, were standing watching all the opening-night excitement, wishing they could afford tickets for the show inside.
Then Collins approached the two college juniors and asked if they might want to see “Hamilton” tonight. Yes, in fact, they did.
“Either he’s telling the truth or we’re being kidnapped,” said Trivers, who used to go from theater to theater asking for cheap tickets before the pandemic, “and either way I’m going with him.”
Those two tickets were among the most sought after on Broadway’s night of big reopenings.
At the start of the show, the creator of “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, walked onstage to a standing ovation. “I don’t ever want to take live theater for granted ever again, do you?” he said. “You can mouth along, all you like, no one can see your mouth moving.”
The musical sensation, which opened on Broadway in 2015, was the industry’s highest grossing show when the pandemic hit. The week before Broadway shut down, “Hamilton” grossed $2.7 million, more than any other show by far. That week, more than 10,700 people scored the sought-after tickets — and then the production, with the rest of live theater, was forced to a sudden halt.
The musical, which won 11 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, managed to find an even wider audience during the pandemic. In July 2020, Disney+ started streaming a film of the musical with Miranda in the title role. Its release reignited interest in the musical and revived debate on some of the controversies it had sparked, including its treatment of slavery.
Judging by the energy of the crowd on Tuesday night, “Hamilton” fever seemed ready to pick up right where it left off.
The television personality Al Roker stood on the sidewalk pumping up the crowd, shouting, “Are you ready?”
“We had just watched Al Roker walk by and I thought that was the peak of the night,” said Graham. The one downside of getting impromptu free tickets to “Hamilton”: He was worried that he was underdressed in his T-shirt and shorts.
Farther down the line to enter the theater, Lauren Koranda, 20, was far from underdressed. She was wearing the floor-length shimmering gown that she had worn to senior prom. On the day the “Hamilton” tickets went on sale, she and her best friend, Maura Consedine, had used about six devices to make sure they got a pair.
“It’s such a big night for New York City,” Consedine said. “The city truly feels alive again.”