‘Hamilton’ plays to more than 88K during Pittsburgh run
The cast of “Hamilton” – the megahit musical about Alexander Hamilton that provided an unforgettable experience for an estimated 88,000 theatergoers at Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center during January – took its final bows “One Last Time” after 32 performances Jan. 1-27.
Fans of the show will be happy to learn there’s a good chance that history will repeat itself.
Robin Elrod, director of communications for Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which brought the production to town as part of its PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, gave some hope that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop, pop and rap musical about the Founding Fathers may come back to Pittsburgh.
“We have not announced a return date, but we endeavor to get a tour back into the market as soon as possible,” she said.
It’s not surprising that the Cultural Trust feels certain that it could have attracted audiences for longer than its four-week run, but dates were limited by the schedules of the national tour and the downtown venue.
Box office appeal
“‘Hamilton’ could have played for double the number of performances and still have sold every seat,” said Marc Fleming, vice president of marketing and Broadway programming for the Trust. “However, the length of the run is determined by the availability of the show and the availability of the theater. In both cases, the answer was four weeks for our run here in Pittsburgh.”
He said the show’s length of stay was comparable to other cities the size of Pittsburgh for this engagement, which represents one of two national touring productions of “Hamilton.”
“Even if the tour had weeks to extend, the Benedum Center is one of the busiest theaters on the planet and we simply did not have space on the calendar,” he said.
Was “Hamilton” the biggest stage show ever in Pittsburgh?
Fleming said there have been dozens of sold-out Broadway shows in the Cultural Trust’s history, and from a production standpoint, “Hamilton’s” set was physically not as big as most Broadway shows.
There also have been Broadway productions that had longer runs in Pittsburgh, including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Wicked,” “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” and “The Lion King.”
“But for sure, ‘Hamilton’ is special in a number of ways,” he said. “I don’t think there has been a show that has crossed over to popular culture in such a big way. It is perhaps the biggest in the way of overall interest in landing tickets. And ‘Hamilton’ has been the biggest driver of subscription sales we’ve experienced.”
A happy new year
Elrod said that “it has been amazing to see the Cultural District so animated and vibrant in this cold month of January.”
“We are thrilled that so many people got to experience the show – and that we reached new audiences through our traditional modes of sale, the EduHam program (for nearly 3,000 high school students in the region), and the ‘Hamilton’ lottery (that offered a chance with every performance for one person to buy up to four tickets online for $10 each),” she said.
The production has moved on to its next stop on the tour, where it opened Jan. 29 at Ohio Theatre in Columbus.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.