As the seconds counted down to 10 a.m. on June 21, Karen Woo was at her computer with multiple Web browsers open. Finally the floodgates opened, and a few minutes later she had her quarry: balcony tickets to Hamilton for a Saturday late in October.
She'd already seen the hot musical once, in New York, and ever since has had the soundtrack on steady rotation.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the PrivateBank Theatre: the Cubs made the playoffs, and they now have a chance to clinch a trip to the World Series on the same night Woo was hoping to see Hamilton.
“At the time I wasn't thinking about it,” she says. “I knew there was a chance the Cubs would make it to the postseason, but it didn't cross my mind at the time.”
Although she doesn't consider herself a diehard Cubs fan—“I am somewhere in between diehard and bandwagon”—she wants to enjoy the game at a bar near her home in Wrigleyville, so this week she took to Craigslist, searching for someone to swap Hamilton tickets with her.
Meanwhile, Lincoln Park’s John Bucksbaum has an embarrassment of riches: tickets to both Saturday’s Hamilton performance and Game 6, the latter in Section 116, the same seats he’s been watching games from since he bought season tickets 23 years ago.
He acquired his Hamilton tickets months ago as part of a fundraiser for charity, but when the postseason schedule came out, he made his priorities clear to his wife: “I immediately told Jackie that the potential [for a conflict] was now in place. If it should come to pass, I definitely would have to be at Wrigley, and she would be able to go with someone else. I would love to see Hamilton, but it's an easy decision, and now she gets to make someone happy.”
Is Cubs fever softening demand for Hamilton? Data are hard to come by—ticket brokers I spoke to declined to comment—but on Ticketmaster and Broadway in Chicago’s official resale marketplace, prices do seem to dip on nights that could conflict with World Series games. As of this morning, tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday—the nights of Games 1 and 2 of the World Series—could be had for as low as $225 and $210, respectively, the cheapest I could find over the next month.
Ticketmaster was selling Hamilton tickets for next Friday and Saturday—Games 3 and 4, to be played, it is hoped, at Wrigley Field—as low as $250 and $270. Other Fridays and Saturdays over the next month start as high as $455.
Indeed, Hamilton attendees may be grappling with dual affections all the way, knock on wood, through November 2. That's the night Jay Clark has Hamilton tickets. It could also be Game 7 of the World Series.
But for Clark, who lives three blocks from Wrigley and who with his partner has had Cubs season tickets for more than 10 years—“Over the years we've seen a lot of bad baseball”—there's no getting out of it: he’ll be seeing Hamilton with his mother, the “world’s biggest Hamilton fan,” whom he is flying in from Florida.
“We weren't thinking it through, to be honest, so we picked the earliest night we could,” he says. “My mother was a little bit frazzled that the plan might fall apart, but I assured her that unless the city was burning down I'll be there for her.”
Nonetheless, he expects he'll be keeping an eye on the game, should there be one, as discreetly as possible. “Luckily it's a musical so it's not something the requires a ton of peace and quiet. I'll be curious which I pay attention to more. By all accounts, it's the greatest musical, so it should be good enough to keep my attention.”
Woo, who was on Craiglist looking for a trade, finally found her match: a law student who because of a class couldn't use her tickets on an upcoming Tuesday. Which Tuesday? November 8, election night.
“That’s OK with me,” Woo says.