In case you missed the 14 million stories written about it, the Broadway musical “Hamilton” is a hot ticket.
New York scalpers are making a nice living out of reselling tickets to the show. In fact, an article in this week’s New York Times claims that scalpers are making $60 million annually in the re-sale market. Not too shabby.
Earlier this summer, I found myself sitting in the proverbial catbird’s seat, seeing that I was the lucky holder of two tickets to “Hamilton” which I bought last December. Back then, the show wasn’t quite as hot as it is now–after all those Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize–so I was able to get two seats in the middle of the orchestra on a Friday night at face value which means I paid around $550 for both tickets.
I should pause here to mention that I am not a Broadway fan. My standard line is: “They killed vaudeville; what’s taking them so long with Broadway?” I see my share of shows on the Great White Way but here’s what it’s like from my perspective. I go into a theater, sit there for two hours, go to the bathroom halfway through and come out mildly entertained. Then I never think of that experience again. I’ve never knowingly hummed a show tune in my life.
I can still recall the day I saw “Five Easy Pieces” or hum the theme song from “Rocky” but Broadway? Nada. There is one exception to this–“Jersey Boys”–but that’s because I know all the songs from my youth.
I don’t hate Broadway; it just does nothing for me.
So last June, those two “Hamilton” tickets for August 5th began throbbing in a way that said, “Hey I’m worth a shitload of money.”
My wife and I were about to take an extravagant trip to Bali, Indonesia so I suggested to my wife that we cash in our “Hamilton” tickets. She agreed. I put them on Stubhub for $2,500 each!! I’m normally opposed to scalping and will always sell tickets at face value but, as I said to my wife, “if some hedge fund guy wants to give me $5,000, who am I to say ‘no?’”
I forgot about the tickets until the week before August 5th. They were still on sale and I could tell from other tickets still on sale, that I’d have to lower my price. On August 5th, they were still on sale and I decided if I could not sell them for $900 each, we were going. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
And then, after noon on the day of the performance, I got a congratulatory email from Stubhub. Sold!! I wound up getting $1,620, not the $5,000 I envisioned but I was happy. It was a tidy profit and I did not have to go to Broadway where I’ve taken some of the most expensive naps of my life.