Once again, Chicagoans are competing with New York: Who can complain more about how hard it is to get tickets to “Hamilton?”
The groundbreaking hit musical about one of our nation’s founding fathers is coming to Chicago this fall. However, tickets went on sale June 21, and certainly some #Fans4Ham have thrown away their shots by not buying tickets the first 24 hours they were on sale.
Now, according to Broadway in Chicago, the company selling tickets to “Hamilton,” the cheapest ticket is $177.00 — for a performance in March. Tickets for performances earlier than that start around $600; hard to afford if one is not the King of England.
However, the world is wide enough for Chicagoans needing to fix their “Hamilton” craving. Below is a list of alternative options. They may not hit all the spots, but those who love history, catchy musical theatre, diversity on stage, and most of all, “a mind at work,” should find a measure of satisfaction.
- Meet Me Inside (the Raven Theatre) for “Direct from Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys”
This macabre vaudeville from Raven Theatre comes highly recommended and won a Jeff award this year for Best Ensemble. The play combines musical acts and magic, and is based on a true story. Its cast is also primarily comprised of actors of color. The play is only showing for another few weeks, and tickets are available here. Price: $17 to $40.
- The Story of “Between Riverside and Crazy”
For those who don’t care if the actors sing or dance or (spoiler alert) get shot in duels, Steppenwolf is still showing Stephen Adly Guirgis’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Between Riverside and Crazy.” Set in Manhattan, this play will definitely transport you to New York (“The greatest city in the world!”) — although you will not travel as far as 1775, nor will you meet the Schuyler Sisters. Still, it’s a good bet the play is on par with this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner, “Hamilton.” Price: $68.
- The Room Where it Happens: Mary’s Attic hosts “1776”
“As if praying made it so,” Mary’s Attic in Andersonville is showing “1776,” a musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This choice is the one that will take you back in time. It may not have everyone’s favorite revolutionary (his name is Alexander — you know the rest), but it will have John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and drinking. An E.D.G.E Theatre production. Price: $24.
- Satisfied with “The Book of Mormon”
What “The Book of Mormon” lacks in Lin-Manuel Miranda, it makes up for with the humor of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and the catchy tunes of Robert Lopez. If singing and dancing is really what drives you, then “The Book of Mormon” is an excellent choice; this is a big-budget musical. The song “Joseph Smith: American Moses,” is almost as catchy as the title track of the musical you’re missing. Price: $71 and up. Find tickets here.
- History Has Its Eyes on You at the Chicago History Museum
If history and insight are what you’re after, both can be found at the Chicago History Museum. Currently, the museum is running an Abraham Lincoln exhibition. The exhibition features an audio program of Lincoln’s writings, including those that changed the nation’s view of slavery. Price: $14 to $16.
- Helpless Except for A Homemade Puppet Show
So you’ve thought about the other items on the list, but you cannot stop listening to the “Hamilton” soundtrack and you’re just burning to see the Hamilton story performed before your very eyes. The trouble is, you just don’t have the money. Why not cut out paper puppets of the cast from images taken from the internet, read the book that inspired Miranda, and reenact Hamilton’s story with said puppets, improvising dialogue and singing along with the hit songs? This option can be staged in your living room alone or with friends. The latter might be more fun. Price: $0.
If none of the above options suit, “Hamilton” fans can always wait for more tickets to be released for dates after March. Chances are high that ticket prices will be (slightly more) reasonable then. If the experience is everything you hoped for, maybe that would be enough.
Broadway in Chicago will post more information as the “Hamilton” season moves forward.