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Whoa! ‘Hamilton’ is coming to Fresno in ’20-’21 season

The Broadway sensation “Hamilton” is coming to Fresno far sooner than I would have expected. The musical will play during the 2020-21 season.

No specific date has yet been announced.

According to Broadway in Fresno, subscribers for the 2019/2020 season will have first access to “Hamilton” when they renew their subscription for the 2020-21 season. 2019-20 subscribers who renew their subscription for the 2020/2021 season will be guaranteed their tickets for the engagement of “Hamilton” before tickets become available to the general public.

In other words: You’ll need to subscribe to two full seasons of Broadway in Fresno to guarantee “Hamilton” tickets.

Also announced: “Blue Man Group” will be added to the 2019-20 season lineup. It will play at the Saroyan Theatre Nov. 6-7.

Gone are the days when hit Broadway musicals took many years (and even decades) to make their way to the hinterlands. “The Lion King,” which opened in New York in 1997, didn’t make its Fresno debut until 2018. It took even longer for “The Phantom of the Opera,” which opened in New York in 1986, to open in Fresno. (It did so in 2015). If “Hamilton,” which took the theater world by storm when it opened in 2015, took as long as “Phantom,” Fresno would have been looking at a 2040 opening date.

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There are plenty of reasons why:

• Musicals actually make more money on tour than on Broadway, believe it or not.

• “Hamilton” is more than just a popular show. It became a cultural phenomenon, and as such, it has the name recognition that money can’t buy. For now, just the name of the show provokes excitement. But that kind of status doesn’t last forever. It makes sense to get it out in front of as many potential audience members as possible.

• And, our collective attention span is a lot shorter than it used to be. In a word, people are more impatient. There was a time when people were content to wait 25 years for “Phantom” to play at the Saroyan. At the rate that pop culture moves these days, “Hamilton” might be just a wistful old memory by 2040, relegated to being a staple of community theaters and converted high school gymnasiums. The producers of “Hamilton” know there isn’t much use making people wait a couple of decades to see it.


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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

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