Tickets for the San Francisco performances of the hit musical Hamilton became available to the general public Monday, tethering tens of thousands of determined buyers to the their computers and sending hundreds more to stand in lines in an attempt to buy the coveted seats at the theater's box office.
Local news station KGO sent its Sky 7D helicopter to shoot the blocks-long line that had formed that morning down Market street to the Orpheum Theatre, which is hosting the musical's run from Mar. 10 - Aug. 5, 2017. Almost 100,000 people were in the company's digital queue when online sales opened at 10am.
Tickets for the Tony Award-winning show were being sold $100-$524 by the theater. But by Monday evening the only seats available were singles, and the majority of these were in the orchestra, the most expensive section of the auditorium.
A pre-sale opportunity the previous Monday saw a similar flurry of excitement, with the theater's digital queue reaching 80,000 by that afternoon. Hopeful buyers included Kristin Scheel, a writer in San Francisco, who waited for hours to buy tickets, only to find options limited.
"None of the days during the five months had really any tickets available," Scheel says. "I was clicking 'buy' on random days."
Scheel says she went to the website right at 10am, which gave her a number around 14,000. Apparently she made out better than her friend, who joined the line around 48,000, only to have to leave the site in order to find an American Express card. When she logged back on soon after, she was around 72,000th in line.
"I have no doubt we were competing with people all over," Scheel says. "My friend was in Colorado trying to be tickets with her friends. And her friends got tickets before I did."
While Scheel was waiting by her computer to purchase pre-sale tickets, a contractor working on her house went on his phone and looked on the secondary market. Scheel says he found some for the same night that she wanted, without the wait, but for $60 more a ticket.
"He was like, 'what day do you want to go?," she says. "The resale sites went up within a half-hour of the tickets going on sale."
After this Monday's general release, starting prices for tickets on the secondary market were $900, and reached as much as $3,000.
If you don't have -- or want to spend -- that kind of cash, another option is signing up for the daily raffle during the musical's run; winners receive tickets for that night's show for just $10 apiece.
Scheel's attempt to buy tickets was ultimately successful, though she says she didn't even end up buying one for herself -- only for her kids. Her daughter has been listening to the soundtrack constantly in the family car, and Scheel intends to give the tickets to her children as Christmas presents. "This was nuts though," Scheel says. "It was like kicking a wasps' nest."