Contrary to Popular Belief, It IS Possible to Win the Hamilton Lottery

Johanna Reis and her husband Timo won $10 lottery tickets to see ‘Hamilton’ on tour in San Francisco. (Photo: Johanna Reis/KQED)

I'm not generally the sort of person who wins stuff. The only time I remember getting lucky in a prize draw was the day I scored a box of fresh vegetables with my parents at a harvest festival in Saxony, Germany, when I was 7 years old.

So when I learned about Hamilton, and digested all the hype surrounding the long waiting lists for tickets, and the nosebleed sums of money people were paying for seats to see the musical on tour in San Francisco, I knew I wouldn't be able to get any closer to the experience than perhaps watching some clips of it on TV or online.

And this is probably very much where my efforts would have ended, were it not for a friend who told me about the ticket lottery for the San Francisco production. The terms offer a limited number of tickets to daily performances of the musical via a random drawing. Winning tickets are $10 and limited to two per winner.

"Worth a try," I thought.

I entered the Hamilton lottery every day for two weeks. It became part of my routine, like brushing my teeth.

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Last Tuesday morning, when I was sitting in a meeting at work, I received a text message. “You won 2x tickets!” it simply said.

I'm not normally given to outbursts in meetings. But I couldn't prevent a quiet shriek escaping from my lips. My concentration was gone. What? Me? Won? Really? How? Why? Did I just exhaust my whole portion of luck for the rest of my life?

I wasted no time in paying the $20 via Paypal for the seats, and then I was done. The two tickets were mine to collect at will call the next day for the afternoon performance.

I couldn’t wait to share the news with my husband. He loves musicals. I don't know many other grown men who've seen The Lion King three times. So you can imagine his surprise when I told him we were off to see Hamilton. He almost fell over.

A selfie at the Orpheum Theatre.
A selfie at the Orpheum Theatre. (Photo: Johanna Reis/KQED)

Our excitement went into overdrive when we arrived at the Orpheum Theatre and discovered where our seats were located.

“Wait a second," I said to my husband, while squinting at our tickets. "Row A...that Row A...the front row A…Oh. My God.” We just couldn’t believe our luck.

From then on, we soaked up every single second of the artistically electrifying, socially charged musical. The composition, sense of ensemble and choreography blew our minds and left us emotionally shattered.

It's been two days since we saw the show. But the wonder of the experience is still fresh in our minds, hearts and ears. I've been humming “Alexander Hamilton, my name is Alexander Hamilton …”, “I am not throwing away my shot!” and “Rise up! Whoa! Whoa!” around the office. My colleagues are alternately puzzled and impressed. I hope this feeling will never let us go.

To enter the lottery to win a ticket to see 'Hamilton' for $10, click here.

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