Whether you spend your time listening for hours on end to the hit musical “Hamilton” or not -- odds are you have heard of the “revolutionary” production. Creator Lin Manuel Miranda took a seemingly boring subject that should be left to history textbooks and created a musical masterpiece that has been breaking the charts since its release in August of 2015. Theatre productions, especially musicals, are usually lucky to have more than a six month run time, yet Hamilton has managed to run strong since its release, and is well on its way to becoming a billion-dollar musical. Also, it’s on track for a twenty city tour around the United States. The real question is: how did they do it? How does the show manage to run strong, consistently selling out theatres with tickets sometimes going for over $1,000, and why do tickets cost that amount? How is Hamilton, a musical about a historical figure, such a success?
To start, Hamilton from the beginning had success on its side because of the creator: Lin Manuel Miranda. Before writing Hamilton he wrote the hit musical “In The Heights” which received four Tony Awards and had had revenue over $100 million. Lin Manuel’s soundtrack for Hamilton gained initial popularity after performing it at the White House for President Obama. From there demand took the reigns. Supply was never able to quite meet the demand for tickets to see the show. As consumer tastes increased for the musical, demand increased, and since theatres can only house so many people per show, the show was granted longer run times to meet the demand.
Since the demand for popular musicals such as Hamilton is so high, ticket prices are very high as well. Yet, the high ticket prices come with reason. The cost of production of a musical is extremely exorbitant. According to the New York Film Academy, the cost of putting on a show is around $2,400,000 along with an additional $300,000 per week. These prices come from multiple factors, including: physical production, talent fees, rehearsal space fees, salaries, and advertising. Physical production involves a lot more that what some people think; as shown by the visual, factors such as the illuminating the stage with the 856 lighting cues in Hamilton would immensely raise the cost of production. Small factors such as regulating temperature, laundry, and maintaining the quality of the costumes easily add up. This results in ticket prices that are oftentimes very expensive, and the opportunity cost of going to see Hamilton could potentially be paying for groceries for a month; yet many fans will do just about anything to see their favorite musical played on stage. Although there are many costs to production, like any major business Broadway makes major profits. As shown by the chart, Broadway continues to make more and more money as the years go by and more and more musicals are created.
In the end, Broadway is a big business; productions such as Hamilton connect people from all over the world. Prices may be high, but the demand to see such as revolutionary production lives on.
“No Business like Show Business.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 16 June 2016, www.economist.com/news/business/21700674-our-analysis-art-and-science-creating-hit-show-no-business-show-business?zid=319&ah=17af09b0281b01505c226b1e574f5cc1.
Oswald, Anjelica. “'Hamilton' Tickets Sell for More than $2,000.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 13 Apr. 2016, www.businessinsider.com/hamilton-musical-revenue-facts-2016-4#he-wrote-most-of-the-songs-in-the-order-they-would-be-sung-in-the-musical-4.
Zeke. “Why Are Broadway Tickets So Expensive?” Student Resources, 7 Apr. 2015, www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/broadway-tickets-expensive/.
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