Shea's Performing Arts Center was all a buzz in the early morning hours Friday as the public lined up early to have a chance to purchase tickets for Hamilton, the Broadway smash-hit musical. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley was at Shea's Friday morning as the first batch of buyers stepped up to the box office.
Shea's handed out about 400 wristbands from 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Then those perspective buyers waited until 7:30 for the first 50 batch of customers to be selected to begin buying tickets.
Louis Burgess of Buffalo was first in line to the Shea's box offfice. He told WBFO News it was like "Super Bowl" excitement.
"It’s like the Super Bowl, in a way. There’s been a buzz about it for so long," Burgess remarked. “I went to try to see it in New York City and it was sold out, so it’s a great thing. I’m very happy we have it in Buffalo."
Burgess was among the first batch of 50 selected to step up to by their ticket to the Broadway-hit musical that opens November 20 and runs through December 9.
Regina Boyd of Buffalo showed up at Shea's Friday morning. Although she is a Shea's season ticket holder, Boyd wanted to swap out her ticket for a different seat, so it required her to join in the lottery.
"I like to sit in the very center and I like an aisle seat," Boyd told us.
Boyd didn't think it was a fair process as a season ticket holder, but wasn't complaining. “I”ve heard a lot of buzz about it, of course, I’ve never seen it and I mean, I like plays. It’s a play I want to see," declared Boyd.
Shea's president Michael Murphy joined customers for the early event. He realizes some might be disappointed.
"But they're also very excited to just be able to be here and give it a shot - it's like the old concert days when you didn't know what was going to happen and a lot of those people were around then, and they are kind of enjoying a little bit of risk taking," Murphy told WBFO News.
But others said it was a "fair process". A woman, who did not want to be identified, said it would be "amazing" to be able to get tickets.
"I went to New York. We couldn’t get tickets there obviously, so it’s like okay we’ve got to give this a shot," the woman stated. She said "the musical is phenomenal It’s exciting."
Dodie McLaughlin of Amherst and her husband showed up before 7 a.m. They are season ticket holders, but came to try and capture tickets for their children who had to be at work. McLaughlin said she and her husband are retired and didn't mind the early ticket event.
“This is fun, really exciting," declared McLaughlin.
McLaughlin is very interested in seeing Hamilton.
“Oh it’s wonderful. Just watching what Lin-Manuel has been doing, he wrote, directed and starred in it. It’s the unexpected, so I’m really excited," McLaughlin said.
Robin Moslow of Buffalo arrived around 6:30 a.m. Friday. She walked out of the box office with four tickets.
“I’m happy I did it. It was well worth coming down," Moslow told reporters.
Moslow said her four tickets are for the December 4th performance. “It’s been on our mind for a long time to try to get tickets. The popularity, the history, the novelty of it - it'll be fun. Looking forward to it," Moslow said.
Shea's had indicated there were about 500-tickets Friday mornig. On-line ticket sales also started Friday morning at 8 a.m. for those who pre-registered with Ticketmaster Verified Fan and that closed Tuesday for the Hamilton tour to Shea's. Those who registered should have received confirmation.
There was a four ticket limit. Ticket prices range from $83 to $178 and there are a limited number of $428 premium seats. It appeared those leaving Shea's did not leave empty handed.
Shea's Murphy said starting Saturday, if there are tickets availabe, people can go online and purchase them through Ticketmaster.com.
"We encourage pepole to check back every day because there may be tickets released," stated Murphy.