Get tickets for “Hamilton” and give back to one of these local fundraisers.
By Julie Smith Yolles
Photos courtesy of Joan Marcus
So many tickets, so few left. If you didn’t purchase the Broadway in Detroit subscription by the time “Something Rotten” opened at the Fisher Theatre in September, you were basically SOL (Severely Out of Luck) at being guaranteed a “Hamilton” ticket.
“When we announced last year that Hamilton was going to be in our season, our subscription orders spiked. In fact, having “Hamilton” as part of our seven-show series helped us double our subscription base,” said Scott Myers, director of corporate sales and marketing at Broadway in Detroit, a division of Nederlander Detroit.
Your next chance came when Ticketmaster ran a Verified Fan Lottery that sent selected buyers a special code that allowed them to buy tickets online Jan. 25. If you didn’t get a code, you had to head to the Fisher Building tat 7:30 a.m. to enter the wristband lottery for a chance to buy tickets that day.
“Our staff came together to make sure more than 600 people were able to buy Hamilton tickets,” added Myers, who said the last number was called around 3:30 p.m. “It was an incredibly busy day with an overwhelmingly patient, gracious and very excited group of theater fans.”
So, what about those still clamoring to get a ticket? Here is your guide to supporting a worthy charity and getting your shot at seeing Hamilton.
For Amy Nederlander, it’s beshert that the first fundraiser for L!fe Leaders Inc., the Detroit-based nonprofit she co-founded three years ago with Michaela Murphy, will be held March 28 at the Fisher Theatre.
“It really means the world to me that our inaugural gala is being held at one of the theaters that’s been run by my family since it opened over 50 years ago in Detroit,” said Nederlander, a Detroit native now living in New York City.
Leadership! Fueled by Entrepreneur-ISM (L!FE) provides career and leadership development programs for middle school and high schoolers in Detroit, empowering students to find their voice, and establish skills and goals using theater-based techniques, marketing, branding and network etiquette.
Nederlander Detroit is sponsoring 24 L!FE students and teachers for the March 28 Gala that includes an elegant dinner curated by Chef Marcus Samuelsson (The Red Rooster, Harlem) at the Fisher Theatre, orchestra seating for “Hamilton,” champagne and dessert reception with a post-performance conversation with members of the cast and “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller, who grew up in Oak Park and graduated from the University of Michigan. Seller, along with Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Mayor Mike Duggan and Lori Maher, are honorary gala hosts.
“Jeffrey and I are both very passionate about Detroit and empowering youth, so we collaborate when we can. I will do anything I can do to help the city and its revitalization and its future leaders,” said Nederlander, who introduced her close friend, Seller, at the Jewish Expats gathering as part of Crain’s Detroit Homecoming event in 2016.
Seller met firsthand with L!FE students at the University Prep Academy in Detroit and said, “The impact L!FE programs have had is inspiring. The story of Alexander Hamilton, an orphan from St. Croix with incredible potential and drive who went on to change the world, is a great lesson about the ways in which we can improve the country and the world when we invest in our promising students.”
In that same mission of supporting Detroit’s youth, the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation, founded by Seller and his partner Josh Lehrer, a prominent documentarist and photographer, donated a $1 million grant to fund Mosaic Youth Theatre’s Summer Camp and Middle School Programs at the end of December 2018. Mosaic Youth Theatre’s Hamilton Benefit will be on April 9. Tickets for the show only range from $289-$840.
Hillel of Metro Detroit (HMD) held its own “Hamilton” ticket lottery for current HMD students in January. HMD has Jewish student chapters at Wayne State University, Oakland University, Oakland Community College, University of Michigan Dearborn, Lawrence Technological University and University of Detroit Mercy. Students entered to win one, non-transferable ticket to the HMD pre-glow and show April 4. Students paid $50.
“This fundraiser is an amazing opportunity for our students, many of whom are work-study and have never seen live professional theater and could never afford to see a show like Hamilton,” said HMD Endowment Campaign Director Illana Greenberg.
She says the fundraiser, chaired by Lou Goldhaber and Fern Kepes, will give Hillel donors an opportunity to mingle with the students at the pre-glow, which includes cocktails and kosher appetizers. Tickets for the pre-glow and Hamilton show start at $400; tickets are limited.
If you want to see “Hamilton” on opening night, Tuesday, March 12, you can purchase tickets that will support three nonprofits: Congregation Shir Tikvah in Troy, Upland Hills School in Oxford and Congregation Beth Shalom of Traverse City. The event also will celebrate Shir Tikvah’s Double Chai (36th) anniversary.
“I first met Jeffrey Seller at Shir Tikvah when he was back in Detroit for a family bat mitzvah,” said Rabbi Emeritus Arnie Sleutelberg. “We became friends over the years. I had the privilege of officiating the baby namings of their two children in New York and was invited to the Tony Awards the year Jeffrey’s show “Avenue Q” won Best Musical.
“Twenty years ago, Jeffrey arranged for Shir Tikvah to purchase the premier night of “Rent” when it came to the Fisher Theatre as a fundraiser. He was pleased Shir Tikvah was open and inclusive of all who wished to seek Jewish spiritual connection.
For several years, he and I had been discussing creating another fundraiser when Hamilton comes to Detroit.
I realized a huge undertaking like this would be more feasible if several nonprofits could share the initial financial commitment and ticket sales promotion, so I approached Upland Hills School, where I serve as chair of the board of trustees, and Beth Shalom of Traverse City, where I currently serve as their rabbi, to see if each would consider partnering with Shir Tikvah on Hamilton. Thus, all three nonprofits are beneficiaries of the Hamilton premier fundraiser.”
Tickets are limited.
L!FE Leaders Inc. Gala
Thursday, March 28
6 p.m. dinner, Fisher Theatre,
curated by Chef Marcus Samuelsson
8 p.m. performance
Champagne & dessert reception
with Jeffrey Seller & cast members
$500 ticket and valet parking only
Hillel of Metro Detroit
Thursday, April 4
6 p.m. pre-glow with cocktails, kosher appetizers
8 p.m. performance
Tickets start at $400. Call (313) 577-3459
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mosaic Youth Theatre
8 p.m. Tuesday, April 9