Hamilton has been widely popular for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it’s an underdog narrative performed by people who the country — and, specifically, the white-dominated theatre community — offers fewer opportunities. As such, the prohibitiveness of ticket prices — especially as it’s spiked by a system that’s twisted by parasitic outside sources for an immense profit — presents a partial obstacle to spreading the good this narrative does to people other than those who can afford the $1,000+ tickets on ticket resale sites like StubHub.
Hamilton writer/star Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote an op-ed in the New York Times (he’s done it previously), published today, calling for tighter legislation surrounding ticket resale. He begins by listing some of the rewarding experiences he and the cast have had through the run and towering success of his show. “But,” he says, “we share one regret: the lack of availability of tickets means that many people who want to see Hamilton can’t.”
He points to resale brokers’ usage of “ticket bots” (which he notes New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman investigated and wrote about in this report) as the reason tickets for Hamilton — and other desirable Broadway shows — tickets being a) scarce on Ticketmaster and b) wildly expensive elsewhere. Of course, Broadway shows, even at their original price, are rather costly, but Miranda notes that on resale websites, the prices can be marked up over 1000 percent. The bots, he describes, are used “to connect at lightning speed” as soon as tickets go up for sale “and gobble up as many hot tickets as possible, then offer them on legal resale sites like StubHub.” Though New York has already made it illegal, the legislation punishes the crime via fines, and apparently brokerage of drastically marked-up resale tickets is so profitable that it’s worth the fine; because of this, Miranda suggests making it a felony.