Marketing / 03.16.18
Cities and Theaters Not Throwing Away Their Shot Marketing 'Hamilton'
"Hamilton," the mega-hit Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is now touring the country and is easily among the most sought-after tickets wherever the show is being staged. Consequently, some theaters are getting both creative and aggressive in marketing the local run as a way to drum up interest in their year-round catalog.
Some have treated the announcement as a major event and have used it to increase season ticket sales for multiple seasons. In early March, Broadway in Indianapolis made a big show of revealing the shows coming for the 2018-19 season, then used the occasion to confirm that the national tour of "Hamilton" will play Indianapolis as part of the 2019-2020 season. Broadway in Indianapolis let it be known that the best way to guarantee tickets to "Hamilton" in the 2019-20 season was to buy a season subscription for the 2018-19 season, because if they renew their 2019-20 season, they’ll guarantee their tickets for "Hamilton" before they even become available to the general public.
With this tactic, not only was Broadway in Indianapolis able to sell more season tickets for the season in which “Hamilton” was actually playing, but they were also able to generate interest in the preceding season with “Hamilton” as the linchpin. Now, anyone who purchases the 2018-19 season ticket for the 2019-20 “Hamilton” score will be a season-pass-holder for two years in a row, and they may just consider repurchasing in the 2020-21 season too.
In Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center seized on demand for "Hamilton" tickets to create a new, seven-show package that also features upcoming touring productions of "Les Misérables" and "Phantom of the Opera." Promoters are especially excited that the rap-infused structure of "Hamilton" is bringing a new generation of Broadway fans to live theatre. Crystal Brewe, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Kimmel Center, told Broadway World: "This is great for the Broadway ecosystem. This kind of energy around a show creates new fans of the genre and has the potential to inspire young performers, writers and creative [types] across the country."
Some cities are running into problems with how aggressively they are marketing the show. Promoters are finding they have to achieve a balance between embracing the historic hype associated with "Hamilton" coming to town and not permanently angering fans whom they want to keep coming back to shows long after "Hamilton" has fired its last shot.
For instance, interest in Kansas City "Hamilton" tickets was so intense and fast that officials felt the need to schedule a special Facebook Live session to provide assuring answers to fans. Questions were fielded on the Kansas City Broadway Series' Facebook page for the touring production that plays the Music Hall June 18-July 7, 2019.
For those in Portland, Oregon, who missed the opportunity to get tickets to the groundbreaking musical when they first went on sale, they had another chance in early March. This second chance did not make everyone happy, though. Kala Schraner-Hayes told the local NBC affiliate she purchased tickets when they first went on sale from Broadway in Portland. She recalls spending at least a couple of hours on the ticket website before finding out she could buy tickets for $500 each. When she heard about the more recent sale and checked prices, she discovered tickets in the same row selling for $345 each.
Broadway in Portland responded to media inquiries via e-mail, stating it is common practice to release additional tickets closer to performance dates and that demand drives the prices. In addition, the e-mail said Broadway in Portland has maintained a continuous message since late last year telling patrons to check back for the late release of seats.
Portland is one city that is pulling out all the stops to generate excitement over "Hamilton." A digital lottery for every Portland performance of the musical was announced Monday, March 5. The lottery will happen before each performance of the show during its March 20-April 8 local run. A total of 40 orchestra tickets will be made available for every performance at Keller Auditorium. According to The Oregonian, the lotteries for each subsequent performance will begin two days prior to each show at 11 a.m. and close at 9 a.m. the day before the performance.
There are two ways to enter the lottery. One is to use the "Hamilton" app available in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Or, patrons can register at http://hamiltonmusical.com/lottery. The only restrictions are that you must be at least 18 years old to enter, and repeat entries are not permitted. Those who enter the lottery will know if they have won by 11 a.m. the day before the performance, having been notified by either text or email. A similar lottery is being held for the Feb. 27-April 1 run of "Hamilton" in Denver.
These lottery practices are commonplace for “Hamilton” tickets, having first been pioneered with the original New York run of the show. Not only are lotteries wildly popular for “Hamilton,” but the system also gives marketers increased opportunity to market upcoming events to fans. Even if they don’t get tickets today, they may be interested in a future performance or event.
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Tags: Theater , Digital Marketing , Musicals , Broadway , Memberships