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Didn't get 'Hamilton' tickets? You may still have a chance | Video

The day South Florida never thought would arrive came Tuesday, when tickets to see “Hamilton” at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale went on sale to the general public. But not everyone who wants to see the show could buy a ticket, and many people are surely wondering how, if at all, they can secure a seat when the show opens Dec. 18 for a five-week run.

Only people who registered earlier this month with Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program were allowed to purchase tickets Tuesday, and beginning at 10 a.m., thousands of would-be “Hamilton”-goers across South Florida hovered over their computer keyboards or stood in line at the Broward Center box office for a chance to see Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical about the founding of the United States.

If any tickets remain following the Ticketmaster promotion, they will go on sale 11 a.m. Wednesday to the public at large at Broward Center.org and at the center’s box office at 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale.

The scene outside the Broward Center Tuesday morning found about 200 people waiting in line at the box office. Liberty Rovira, of Melbourne, was one of them.

“I left [my home] at 5 a.m.,” Rovira said. “I thought it would be a great Christmas present for my family. I got here about 9 because there was so much traffic coming into Palm Beach [County]. The line wasn’t too bad, and it looked very organized.”

Others in line at the Broward Center were stand-ins for those who couldn’t make it to the downtown Fort Lauderdale venue.

“It was really easy [and] painless,” said Noel Matias, of Miramar. “I thought it was going to be a lot more people. I came here because my girlfriend, she tried [unsuccessfully] to do it online … So she called me in a panic, ‘Can you go down there?’ since I’m off during the daytime.”

Matias’ girlfriend wasn’t the only one who had difficulty buying tickets online.

“I consider myself somewhat literate on the computer when it comes to buying tickets, but this one had me stumped,” Boca Raton’s David Tolces wrote in an email. “I feel badly for those people who don’t know their way around a computer.”

Tolce was finally able to purchase two balcony tickets for $231 after 3 1/2 hours of trying.

The company bringing “Hamilton” to Fort Lauderdale, Broadway Across America, released this statement Tuesday: “Tickets are still available, but going fast. There is a queue, please be patient and continue to check back. For additional support please contact Ticketmaster on Twitter @TMFanSupport or 800-653-8000.” Broadway Across America is a presenter of touring Broadway shows with a reach in 44 regional markets, including Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

“We spent a heck of a lot of time thinking about all the possible things that could go wrong you know, and then trying to account for them and making sure that those things don’t happen,” Kelley Shanley, CEO and president of the Broward Center, said Tuesday. “We often feel a little pessimistic about how these things are going to go. In a sense, our expectations are low. And everything has gone incredibly smoothly today, so we’re all feeling really good. Some of these patrons, it’s the first time they are going to come to the theater. ‘Hamilton’ has opened up a whole new audience to musical theater, and we want their first experience here to be a good one.”

Shanley said they visited other venues hosting the road tour of “Hamilton” to see how the ticket process worked. On Tuesday, staffers from three performing arts centers were at the Broward Center to observe how the day went prior to their runs of the Broadway musical, which won 11 Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for drama and a Grammy Award.

Tuesday’s sale was a good experience for Edgar Flores, who was the first in line at 8 a.m.

“I’ve been here since 10 p.m. [Monday],” the Miami resident said. “Because, honestly, I’m a big fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda. I’ve been looking forward to watching ‘Hamilton’ for quite a while. I like the creativity of the approach of showing very important history of this country. You know, this is really the formation of America.”

Melbourne’s Rovira added: “I think it’s the kind of music, the rap and the hip-hop. And it’s telling a compelling story about one of our founding fathers, who happens to be an immigrant. And everyone can relate to it. So it’s a very inspiring story. I think a lot of people can relate to what Alexander Hamilton went through when he first came here.”

Whatever it is it has certainly made Susie Krajsa, president of Broadway Across America, the person to know in South Florida, if her recent emails are to be believed.

“I feel like the most popular person in South Florida,” she says. “Among those emails were, ‘Remember me? I sat behind you in first grade.’ I can’t even describe the excitement. It is truly something that we have not seen before.”

rhagwood@southflorida.com

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