Landing 'Hamilton' a huge win for D.M., official says
The national tour of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" will play at the Des Moines Civic Center as part of the Willis Broadway Series during the 2017-2018 season.
It has sold out on Broadway. Its cast has appeared on the Grammy Awards, and even performed at the White House last month.
And now, on its first national tour, the critically acclaimed hip-hop musical “Hamilton” is set to come to Des Moines.
The musical will take the stage at the Des Moines Civic Center as part of the 2017-2018 Willis Broadway Series, it was announced Monday. Des Moines Performing Arts President Jeff Chelesvig said landing the top-notch musical speaks to the support offered by the Des Moines community and performing arts season ticket holders.
“We have a great track record with Broadway shows,” Chelesvig said. “We’re just thrilled to be bringing it to Des Moines in its first year of national tour.”
For the uninitiated, what's "Hamilton" about? It's a hip-hop, jazz, rap and blues-influenced musical chronicling the life — and death — of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. With lines delivered in a rhythmic fashion, the story focuses on major Hamilton life events, such as serving alongside George Washington in the Revolutionary War and becoming the nation's first Treasury secretary.
And just how hot is it?
- The show is sold out on Broadway until January. Secondhand tickets are selling for $500 and up on StubHub.
- According to The New York Times, the show is averaging $500,000 in profit every week and could eventually hit $1 billion in sales.
- The award-winning album was the first Broadway record ever to top the Billboard rap album sales chart and is the highest-charting cast album since 2011.
- The show won a Grammy Award this year for best Musical theateralbum. More than 24 million people watched the 2016 Grammy Awards broadcast, during which the cast performed its opening number live from New York City.
“We’ve never really seen anything like it,” Chelesvig said. “The response to the show’s been so incredible. I think it’s something that’s going to play for a long, long time, and we’re very happy to have it coming to Des Moines.”
Megan Young, 23, of Des Moines, said she was willing to travel outside the city to catch a performance of "Hamilton" if she had no other choice.
"It's been so huge in social media, as well as in American culture right now," Young said. "I honestly didn't think it'd stop in Des Moines."
Other announced cities landing the “Hamilton” tour include Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Jeffery Seller, lead producer of “Hamilton,” said in a Times article from this year that the "power of the market to sell tickets" plays a role in the decision process of where to take the show.
Greg Edwards, president of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, called bringing "Hamilton" to downtown a huge win for Iowa.
"It’s another example of Des Moines Performing Arts bringing in good shows before they make it to a lot of others cities," he said. "I think it’s incredible."
"When you bring in hit shows like "Hamilton," "The Lion King" (and) "Wicked" ... that does create visitor traffic," he added. "It’s just another example that Des Moines is a cool place. It’s a cultural place."
The Des Moines Performing Arts' track record of bringing in hit shows includes performances such as the "The Lion King," which sold more than 113,000 tickets during one stint. Other recent shows to take the Des Moines stage include the Trey Parker-directed "Book of Mormon," the award-winning musical "Wicked," Cyndi Lauper brainchild "Kinky Boots" and the Green Day-inspired punk rock musical "American Idiot."
According to Des Moines Performing Arts, the Willis Broadway Series generates about $30 million in economic impact annually. More than 10,000 people were season ticket holders in 2015-2016.
WIth the help of President Obama, "Hamilton" star Lin-Manuel Miranda showed off his rap skills in the White House Rose Garden.
A news release said the best way to guarantee tickets to a performance is to purchase tickets to the 2016-2017 Willis Broadway Series. Those who renew season ticket packages for 2017-2018 will be guaranteed seats to “Hamilton” before tickets go on sale to the general public.
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The show is directed by Thomas Kail, choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler and is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton. Music and lyrics were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The musical’s creative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award-winning musical “In The Heights.”
More details on the show, including performance dates, start date for the 2017-2018 series and ticket prices, are yet to be announced.