Why So Many Hamilton Fans Might Be In For A Shock

If you haven’t heard of Hamilton, you’ve probably been marooned on a desert island. Or you live in a media-free compound without newspapers, magazines, Facebook, Twitter, running water, or electricity. Or perhaps you have been in a coma and just woke up? Well, hello there and welcome to the Hamilton frenzy! Hamilton is one of the most successful Broadway musicals, ever. The show is estimated to gross an incredible $100 million in ticket sales in 2016, with weekly ticket sales ending November 27 totaling a record breaking $3.3 million, making it the highest-grossing week for a single show in Broadway’s history. Created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the hip-hop musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton debuted on Broadway in 2015, and quickly became an American obsession. The show sold out its entire off-Broadway run, and tickets were expensive and elusive. Fans camped out overnight. People waited for eons in the cancellation line or paid up to $2,500 for a ticket from resellers.
Which is why it may shock a few people (ahem, New Yorkers) to learn that not everyone is wild about the show. For most Hamilton fans, the idea that anyone out there could even think of starting a #BoycottHamilton hashtag is preposterous. And yet, it happened. And it could be a sign of a larger anti-Hamilton movement out there, beyond the confines of the tristate bubble. Hamilton's upcoming national tour across sixteen U.S. cities is giving new hope and excitement to its fans across America. My girls have already begged for tickets to the Washington, D.C. show at the Kennedy Center, which does not begin for another 19 months. Admittedly, I will do whatever it takes to get these tickets — contact friends on the Kennedy Center Board, camp out, or hit up the ticket brokers. We are in a state of collective Hamilton desperation in my house. But outside of New York and D.C., there are signs of trouble.

Are avid Hamilton fans living in a bubble? Is it the same bubble that has divided our country into “I’m With Her” and “Make America Great Again” factions?

Last week at a Hamilton performance in Chicago, a Trump supporter disrupted the musical by shouting, "We won! You lost! Get over it! Fuck you,” when the cast began singing, "Immigrants / We get the job done," which is one of Miranda's most inspiring political references. The rabble-rouser continued his rant for two songs until he was removed from the theater.
The Chicago disrupter caused the scene a day after Vice President-elect Mike Pence saw Hamilton in New York. During that evening's curtain call, cast member Brandon Victor Dixon, along with the rest of the ensemble, delivered an articulate public plea to Mr. Pence on behalf of the multiracial cast about their concerns with the Trump administration. Pence was gracious. Trump was outraged and tweeted about it (as he does), demanding an apology several times. Apologize for freedom of speech? Not going to happen. A quick scan of social media gives us a glimpse into the #BoycottHamilton campaign and may signal less-than-record-breaking runs for the tour in more rural areas.
And incredibly, The PrivateBank Theater in Chicago is showing a healthy Hamilton ticket availability — even for tonight’s show — starting at a reasonable price point of $155 for balcony seats. This may be a reflection of a different, more conservative Midwestern audience. This Chicago kerfuffle begs the question — are avid Hamilton fans living in a bubble? Is it the same bubble that has divided our country into “I’m With Her” and “Make America Great Again” factions? The Hamilton-lovers in NYC, D.C., L.A., Miami, and San Francisco tend to believe in diversity, the right to choose, pay equity, gun safety, universal health care, religious freedom, LGBT and human rights. Many of the folks in rural America, in the red states, do not feel the same level of passion about these issues. Many of them voted for Trump.

Our more conservative American friends want to exercise a veto against 'Hamilton' and submit a resolution for a revival of 'Annie Get Your Gun.'

Just because everyone in your circle is enthralled with the Hamilton phenomenon — which could be described as a movement — doesn't mean everyone out there understands the allure. Discovering this might bring about some of the same shock many people felt on November 9. A majority of NYC and D.C. residents are still walking around in a daze, wondering what the hell happened on Election Day. Did Hillary really lose? Is this all just a bad, orange dream? While Trump supporters are doing their gleeful victory dance, boycotting Hamilton, Starbucks, Target, Macy’s, Twitter (yet tweeting about boycotting them, hmm) and some restaurants that endorse Hillary Clinton. Ham-fans must come to terms with the fact that the record-breaking musical is not likely Kellyanne Conway’s — or any Trump supporters’ — cup of colonial tea. We think of it as a hip look at our forefathers and the American Revolution, and most of us are breathless with anticipation of obtaining tickets to the Broadway musical. We are the kids in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, desperately hoping for the Golden Ticket. Our more conservative American friends want to exercise a veto against Hamilton and submit a resolution for a revival of Annie Get Your Gun. Will Hamilton sell out in Houston, Denver, and Tempe? Perhaps our coastal cultural obsession will cool down to lukewarm interest in middle America. Only 2017 will tell. But if the tour doesn't manage to sell out, I bet the legions of Ham-fans will hop on Southwest Airlines to fill those seats for another inspiring Hamilton hip-hop history lesson. Elizabeth Thorp is editor in chief of PYPO.com, a female-driven online comedy and news network.

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