While a number of media outlets are gleefully declaring the record-breaking box office last week of “Hamilton” is an indication a boycott by Donald Trump supporters against the hit Broadway play is backfiring, the simple fact is that the show has been sold out for six or seven months in advance, and the premium ticket prices also were set long before the high-demand Thanksgiving week.
That means, ill-advised or not, any impact of the boycott on ticket sales launched in response to the crowd booing and cast-member lecturing of Mike Pence when the vice president-elect attended the play Nov. 18 wouldn’t be seen until well into next year.
Nevertheless, Esquire magazine blared in response to the box-office news, “It should come as no surprise that #BoycottHamilton did not work!”
“In fact, it did the exact opposite,” the magazine said.
Marie Claire, the women’s fashion magazine, headlined a story on its website “‘Hamilton’ Breaks an Epic Record Following That Mike Pence Drama.”
“So…#BoycottHamilton was a fail,” it said.
USA Today said “audiences did the opposite of boycotting the hit Broadway production.”
And the news portal The Grio said, “The increased sales seem to indicate that boycott isn’t going so well.”
We’re ‘alarmed and anxious’
The New York Times didn’t note the unwarranted boasting, but the paper pointed out that because “Hamilton” is a sold-out show, attendance does not fluctuate from week to week, and its grosses vary because of pricing changes.
The prices charged at the box office for Thanksgiving-week tickets were set months ago, the Times reported.
“Hamilton” grossed a Broadway a record $3.3 million in an eight-performance week and also set a record for the highest premium ticket price ever charged by a Broadway box office, $998.
When Pence attended, cast member Brandon Victor Dixon addressed him from the stage immediately after the show, with the rest of the casting standing behind.
“We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” Dixon said. “But we hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of all of us.”
In response to the upbraiding, Trump supporters created the hashtag #BoycottHamilton.
In two tweets sent out the following morning, Trump demanded that the cast apologize.
“Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!,” Trump wrote.
“The Theater must always be a safe and special place,” Trump said. “The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
Ultimately, a boycott of a hit Broadway play drawing an audience from across the nation in a theater with only 1,319 seats is a long-shot effort.
“Most theater aficionados noted the flaw in Trump supporters’ plan from the beginning: tickets to the show were already sold out through next year when his supporters began calling for Hamilton’s head,” it said.
With last week’s results, Vanity Fair said, “it seems safe to say the show will keep passionately smashin’ every expectation for months to come.”