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'Hamilton' to play Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center in December

“Hamilton,” Broadway’s buzziest musical and the hottest ticket of this century, is coming to Fort Lauderdale Dec. 18, 2018, through Jan. 20, 2019.

We knew the mega-hit show was coming because of an announcement made about this time last year, but Friday morning the exact dates were released. And those dates are impressive. For five weeks, the winner of 11 Tony Awards will play the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in an unprecedented lengthy run for a Broadway season offering in South Florida.

“The demand of this show justifies the five-week run,” says Susie Krajsa, executive vice president of Broadway Across America, a presenter of touring Broadway shows with a reach in 44 regional markets, including Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

It seems everyone wants tickets to “Hamilton,” not only for the show in Manhattan but for this second national tour. Last month, tickets for the New York staging spiked to $1,150 for the high-demand week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and still sold out. Earlier this week in Denver, more than 100,000 people stood on line waiting to snatch tickets as soon as they went on sale at 10 a.m. The line at the box office reportedly snaked around the building. In San Diego in October, some people waited in line for 13 hours to buy tickets (which fetched up to $595 at face value, more with resellers) for the production that is playing there now. Last week in Kansas City, Mo., two days after an online waiting list opened, 4,500 people had signed up just for the chance to buy season tickets in order to score “Hamilton” tickets when the national tour stops there in the summer of 2019.

Krajsa suggests doing the same in advance of the South Florida run.

“I have to keep repeating this: The best way to get tickets is to become a subscriber,” she says. Subscription packages, which go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, start at $261. “It’s so much easier to get tickets for the season, so you’re locked in, not only for ‘Hamilton,’ but for the rest of the season. I expect when single tickets go on sale there will be long lines.”

A lottery for deeply discounted tickets will be held for the Broward Center shows, but details have not been ironed out. As of now, Broadway Across America does not know the price range for single tickets.

" ‘Hamilton’ is many things,” Chris Jones wrote in a Chicago Tribune review of the show’s Windy City run. “A reinvention of the musical. An overdue diversification of a stolid form. A loving tribute to the empty chairs and empty tables of the shows that have gone before. A reminder that America was built by young risk-takers, not serious old white men who stare out at us from currency about to become obsolete. But it is most of all a meditation on that most American of debates — the rewards and limits of ambition and an exploration of what gives us all our best shot at happiness.”

The Broward Center’s Broadway season also includes last year’s hot show “Dear Evan Hansen,” which will play the center March 26-April 7, 2019. Concerning a high schooler with crippling social anxiety disorder who begins to connect with others only after telling a lie about a classmate, “Dear Evan Hansen” won six Tony Awards in 2017, including best musical.

The high demand for “Hamilton” tickets has been fueled by the musical’s penchant for staying in the headlines ever since it took the entertainment world by storm, first off-Broadway in February 2015 and then on Broadway later that summer. Just this past November, “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda sent shock waves throughout the Caribbean when he announced that he will reprise his role as the title character for a run in Puerto Rico in January 2019, the first time he will have done so since he ended his Broadway run in July 2016.

Miranda, whose family has a great deal of Puerto Rican heritage, released the single "Almost Like Praying" with an all-star cast of singers including Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and Rita Moreno to raise money for Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

Last year, he announced that there will be a film version of “Hamilton,” although no target release date was confirmed. (Miranda reportedly is completing filming on “Mary Poppins Returns”).

“Hamilton” has excited pop-culture fans from the beginning. The show about founding father Alexander Hamilton first got major coverage when Miranda chose a multiracial cast to depict white historical figures. In New York and with subsequent productions in Los Angeles, Chicago and now London, many of the central characters — Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and even Hamilton’s killer, Aaron Burr — are portrayed by actors of color. As with his musical “In the Heights,” Miranda filled his score for “Hamilton” with hip-hop rhythms and rap-infused musical numbers.

After winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama and a Grammy Award, the show trended once again in November 2016 when then vice president-elect Mike Pence was addressed from the stage in New York with a statement written by the cast, the producers and Miranda. President-elect Donald Trump tweeted his displeasure, but the online campaign #BoycottHamilton was over before it began.

The Broward Center’s Broadway season also includes:

“The Phantom of the Opera,” Oct. 10-21, 2018.

“The King and I,” Nov. 20-Dec. 2, 2018.

“Fiddler on the Roof,” Feb. 20-March 3, 2019.

“Anastasia,” April 23-May 5, 2019.

“A Bronx Tale,” June 11-23, 2019.

But it is “Hamilton” that anchors the season. “We teased ‘Hamilton’ last season,” Krasja says, “so we look at the renewal rate, which is higher than it’s ever been [across the country]. And also we got a number of new subscribers that came on for the season.”

“It’s nice to have a built-in audience that is educated and knowledgeable and interested in the shows,” she says of the South Florida market.

The musical, which samples rap, blues, R&B and even some standard Broadway fare, follows Hamilton’s life from birth (out of wedlock, no less) in the West Indies to his meteoric rise to becoming George Washington’s right-hand man during the American Revolution. Not a whitewash, the show details the rough-and-tumble political battles of the nascent country as well as Hamilton’s romantic improprieties. Of course, it all leads to that fateful duel with his frenemy Aaron Burr.

At a White House Poetry Jam in the spring of 2009, Miranda offhandedly mentioned that he was composing a score about the first Secretary of the Treasury, which got a big laugh. But then, he performed what would become the opening number of “Hamilton,” and President Barack Obama, the first family and the audience were transfixed. Miranda has said that at the time he thought the project might become a hip-hop mixtape.

Season tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 26. A six-show package will cost between $261 and $1,002. A seven-show package (which includes “The Phantom of the Opera”) will cost $296-$1,147. Subscribers wanting to renew or new subscribers should call 800-764-0700 or go to BroadwayInFortLauderdale.com. Normal hours for the phone number are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, but the line also will be open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27.

rhagwood@southflorida.com

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