RBTL: 'Hamilton ticket buyers beware'

February 19, 2019 09:02 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- Theater fans faced new warnings over scalpers and scammers seeking to exploit the popularity of the musical Hamilton, scheduled to take the stage at Rochester's Auditorium Theatre in April.

"Google search 'Hamilton tickets in Rochester,'" challenged Linda Glosser, executive director of the Rochester Broadway Theatre League."You are going to find any number of sites willing to sell you a ticket. The catch is those people don't have tickets in their possession. They don't even know what the prices are going to be."

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The prices advertised for the tickets on online ticket sites appeared high indeed. The website listed tickets for "Hamilton" ranging in price for more than $300 for balcony seats to more than $1,500 for loge seats.

"I'd be so sad to see you pay that because it's just not going to be necessary," said Glosser. "The majority of tickets will be under $200."

"They've been hustling me," declared Hev Calhoun of Penfield.

He took to Facebook after being drawn to social media ads for "Hamilton" tickets. Along with a few new online friends he'd never met, Calhoun started posting warnings declaring the ads a scam.

"I know now that I should never, ever, ever go anywhere except for the venue that's offering the show," he exclaimed, "or you're going to get hustled and you're going to show up one day with fake tickets and be embarrassed that you just spent hundreds of dollars on fake tickets."

In a release titled "Hamilton ticket buyers beware" the RBTL explained that its only authorized ticket outlets would be Ticketmaster for online sales and the box office at the Auditorium Theatre itself, and that, in any case, no tickets would be available, anywhere, for anyone, prior to mid-March.

Even subscribers, season-ticket holders, would not receive their tickets until much closer to performance time than for previous performances to minimize opportunities for resellers to mark up prices and flip tickets.

For the first time, RBTL also planned to start using Ticketmaster's "Verified Fan" feature meant to discourage resellers from scooping up tickets en masse.

The RBTL also urged theatergoers to stay in authorized lanes to avoid the possibility of paying hundreds of dollars to fraudsters selling tickets that didn't exist at all, a threat Glosser described as particularly acute as large numbers of customers, who normally don't go to the theater, came looking to enjoy the "Hamilton" phenomenon.

It was a scenario she called a familiar one when popular shows come to town, as she encountered herself a few years ago.

"Two women and a couple of kids came to see Lion King," she recalled, "and the kids are crying...we were sold out. We didn't have a seat for them. And they didn't have real tickets so yeah, it was sad."

Calhoun said he planned to stand by patiently until "Hamilton" tickets became available, his enthusiasm for the show itself undimmed.

"I want to say 'I saw it and it was awesome,'" he said. "I totally want to be part of that one."


Charles Molineaux

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