Tips for taking your shot at 'Hamilton' tickets

Three hundred seventy-seven thousand two hundred minutes.

No, that's not how the lyric from that big song in "Rent" will go once the new presidential administration's funding cuts begin to downsize the arts. (There remain 525,600 minutes in a year, and in the opening line of "Seasons of Love.")

It is, however, just about how long San Diego has left to wait until another massive phenomenon of a musical - a little thing called "Hamilton" - finally hits town.

That translates to just under nine months before the smash-hit Broadway show that weds history to hip-hop (hist-hop? Is that a thing?) lands at the Civic Theatre on Jan. 3 for a monthlong run.

So in recognition of San Diegans' pent-up demand for fresh word of "Hamilton," we've launched this new Centerstage theater column for the sole purpose of counting down the minutes until the show's arrival.

And now it's only 377,199!

OK, this could get boring.

So while we're waiting, let's talk theater. Specifically, more "Hamilton."

If you're wondering what date single tickets for the Jan. 3-28 Civic run will go on sale, the official answer is: It hasn't been announced yet.

But our best guess, based on a look at how things went with the current "Hamilton" run in San Francisco and the upcoming engagement in L.A., is: probably around late September.

Tickets for the San Francisco dates went on sale about three months before the run began in March; for L.A., where the show lands in August, they're due to be available April 19 to American Express card-holders, April 30 for everyone else. (So yes, it may well help to get an AMEX card.)

You can still jump the line by purchasing a Broadway/San Diego season subscription that includes "Hamilton" and six other shows for about $253 to $603, but availability is getting very limited.

While most tickets for the entire San Francisco run sold out in 24 hours, there are tickets available on resale sites, but the cheapest seat listed on StubHub in a recent check was $299; don't expect any bargains for San Diego, either.

There is one other option worth noting: In both San Francisco and L.A., around 40 seats are being made available shortly before each performance via a digital lottery. And those tickets are just $10, in honor of the show's namesake, Alexander Hamilton - the "$10 founding father" (as the opening song has it) who was cut down in that unfortunate duel with Aaron Burr.

Maybe you'll get luckier than he did.

Dramatic images

Speaking of history: There turns out to be a massive and fascinating stash of vintage Old Globe Theatre photos tucked away on a public website run by San Diego State University.

The Old Globe Theatre Photograph Collection (access it here) contains close to 3,000 images dating from the 1940s to the early 2000s.

And if you browse for a while, you'll find plenty of familiar faces, and a few surprises.

Check out, for example, a young and rail-thin Christopher Walken in 1969 productions of "The Comedy of Errors" and "Julius Caesar"; a pre-"The Office" Rainn Wilson in "The Taming of the Shrew" from 2002; and lots of 1960s-'70s-era shots of Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Reeve and Jon Voight doing various Shakespeares.

Given the Globe's current production of "Red Velvet," about the first black actor to appear as the lead in "Othello" on the London stage, it's also fascinating to see a succession of the Globe's own Othellos.

It appears the actor Douglass Watson played the role in at least semi-blackface there in 1967. By 1976, the African-American actor William Marshall - known for the film "Blacula" and, later, a role on the TV series "Pee-wee's Playhouse" - was stepping into the role.

And maybe making (at least local) history the way Ira Aldridge does in "Red Velvet."

(Got ideas and items for this column? Email jim.hebert@sduniontribune.com.)
Twitter: @jimhebertjim.hebert@sduniontribune.com

Copyright © 2017, Pacific San Diego
55°