With two weeks before shows are set to begin, there are hundreds of seats left for most of the 32 “Hamilton” performances at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre.
At more than 20 of those performances, Ticketmaster still has more than 200 of the theater’s 2,300 seats available, excluding tickets being resold. Few seats remain for the first eight performances, beginning June 25, but nearly all the shows in July are far from sold out.
The availability is notable for “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit musical whose performances often sell out with remarkable speed.
For example, when tickets went on sale to see the Tony Award-winning musical at the Kennedy Center in Washington last spring, members waited in queues thousands of people long for their shot at seats. The venue is bringing the musical back for a second run next year.
Ron Legler, president of the Hippodrome, said the availability reflects the show’s sales strategy. Tickets went on sale in May, rather than earlier, he said, because once tickets offered by the venue sell out, the secondary market takes control and prices can skyrocket.
“[It’s] so that we can make sure that the fans of ‘Hamilton’ and our loyal patrons are not getting gouged with ticket prices,” he said.
“Hamilton” had the highest-grossing opening day of ticket sales in Hippodrome history, Legler said, and he’s expecting each of the 32 shows to be at capacity. The show runs through July 21.
The slow Baltimore sales are likely based on a combination of factors, said Natka Bianchini, an associate professor of theater at Loyola University Maryland, including the fact that the show is about to turn 4 years old.
“It’s starting to transition from being the hottest new ticket to being more of a stable, constant commodity,” she said.
The Hippodrome’s “Hamilton” prices range from $81.50 to $450.50, and many tickets available now cost roughly $300. Tickets in the $80 range were the first to go, Legler said. Prices at the Kennedy Center ranged from $99 to $199, with a select number of $625 premium seats.
The Hippodrome’s higher prices — and the fact that the musical was just in Washington — may have slowed Baltimore sales, Bianchini said.
“If you’re talking about a night out for two people to cost almost $700, I just don’t know if that is sustainable,” she said. “I know that New York can command those prices, but it clearly looks like Baltimore cannot.”
Legler disagreed with the notion that the show, a rap-based musical showcasing the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, is declining in popularity, saying there’s still a “tremendous demand.”
The show recently set a January 2020 closing date in Chicago, with Broadway producer Jeffrey Seller saying he wanted to “go out on a high.” The show opened there in September 2016.
It’s possible that theatergoers just don’t realize the seats at the Hippodrome are still widely available, Bianchili added. "When people think of 'Hamilton,' you just think 'Oh, it's sold out. You can't get a ticket,'" she said.