The most-wanted man in New York (for ‘Hamilton’ tickets)

Ilya Marritz May 3, 2016
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Actor Leslie Odom, Jr. (L) and actor, composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (R) perform on stage during 'Hamilton' GRAMMY performance for The 58th GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 15 in New York City. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The most-wanted man in New York (for ‘Hamilton’ tickets)

Ilya Marritz May 3, 2016
Actor Leslie Odom, Jr. (L) and actor, composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (R) perform on stage during 'Hamilton' GRAMMY performance for The 58th GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 15 in New York City. Theo Wargo/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

This year’s Tony nominations are out, and “Hamilton” cleaned up with a record 16 nominations. If getting tickets used to be a long shot, it’s probably now next to impossible. But there are alternative means: You have to know a guy and know how to sweet talk him.

His name is Sam Rudy, and he has a casual personal style, as if to say, “Who me? I’m no big deal.” He wears gray New Balance sneakers and keeps a cramped little office with piles of paper everywhere. But make no mistake. As “Hamilton’s” PR guy, this modest man is a shrewd power broker. Look for the clues among the scattered documents. Here are two boxes wrapped in shiny paper — could it be Champagne? And here’s a fruit basket.

“This is from somebody we helped to get hard-to-get house seats to ‘Hamilton,’” Rudy said before picking up another thank you gift — a box of cookies.

There are 1,319 seats in the Richard Rogers Theatre. For every showing of ‘Hamilton,’” only a small number are not sold to the general public. They’re reserved for critics, celebrities, politicians, family members, professional colleagues, theater people.

Sam Rudy uses a three-ring binder to keep track of the names of people who will get house seats to “Hamilton.”

Rudy keeps their names in a green three-ring binder: Justice John Roberts. Justice Anthony Kennedy. Connie Chung. Anna Wintour. Matt Lauer.

He suggests we meet up a little later at the Richard Rogers Theatre. A group of almost 600 high school kids is coming in from Bay Shore, Long Island, for a matinee, and Rudy wants to make sure it all goes smoothly. But Rudy is a no-show.

The reason soon becomes clear: A controversy has erupted over a casting call for “Hamilton,” which specifically calls for “nonwhite men and women.” Social media goes into a frenzy.

Rudy meanwhile, was working with the show’s producers to formulate a response. It reads, in part: “It is essential to the storytelling of ‘Hamilton’ that the principal roles — which were written for non-white characters (excepting King George) — be performed by non-white actors. This adheres to the accepted practice that certain characteristics in certain roles constitute a ‘bona fide occupational qualification’ that is legal.”   

New York Magazine called the statement “so effective, it’s like a Founding Father himself wrote it.”

“I don’t take credit for that. That was a team effort that I helped manage,” Rudy said.

Maybe you’re wondering how to impress Sam Rudy, how to invent some reason for him to give you a “Hamilton” ticket. Rudy said it really helps to be famous. And even if you are famous, when you make your request, make sure to phrase it politely.

 

 

 

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.