In Review

Hamilton London: how to get tickets to the Olivier award-winning West End musical

West End production nets seven awards, including Best New Musical and Best Actor in a Musical

The West End production of smash US musical Hamilton dominated the 2018 Olivier Awards, taking home seven prizes at the UK’s most prestigious theatre awards.

Hamilton, which opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre amid fervent fanfare in December, beat off competition from the likes of An American in Paris and Young Frankenstein to be named Best New Musical of the year at the ceremony last night.

The seven-award haul makes Hamilton the most successful production that originated overseas, and equals Matilda’s record for the most Oliviers won for a musical.

In the acting categories, Michael Jibson’s crowd-pleasing turn as a tantrum-prone George III brought the historical hip-hop extravaganza its first gong, winning him the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical.

However, newcomer Jamael Westman as the titular Hamilton missed out on the Best Actor in a Musical award, which went instead to co-star Giles Terera for his performance as the show’s antagonist, Aaron Burr.

The show was also rewarded for its technical prowess, winning awards for lightning, sound design and choreography.

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire received a joint award for Outstanding Achievement in Music.

The seven-gong haul equals the record set by the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda in 2012.

So what is all the fuss about? Here’s what the critics are saying - and how you can get your hands on a ticket to see for yourself:

What do the critics say?

“Believe every single word of the hype,” says The Daily Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish. Miranda’s frenetic take on the founding of the US “displays an artistic sophistication that makes most of its British counter-parts look like they’re mumbling into their shoes in comparison”.

In the hands of Miranda’s powerhouse score, even the seemingly niche subject matter - the personal and political intrigues of founding father Alexander Hamilton - becomes gripping, says The Stage.

“There are strange moments where you wake up, as if from a trance, realising you’ve been completely enthralled by a song about the USA’s nascent fiscal policy,” they write.

Leading man Jamael Westman, a recent Rada graduate, “captures Hamilton’s cockiness and piercing gaze”, says the London Evening Standard, while “Michael Jibson’s George III earns some of the biggest laughs with his foppish trolling of the American rebels”.

Giles Terera earned some of the most glowing notices as Hamilton’s frenemy and eventual killer, Aaron Burr, while there was also ample praise for Rachelle Ann Go and Rachel John as Hamilton’s wife Eliza and sister-in-law Angelica.

Despite a slight lag in act two, which delves into the intricacies of early American fiscal policy, Hamilton is “so bravely different, so stylishly rule-breaking and so goddamn catchy,” says Metro, that “it’s impossible not to be won over by its innate charm”.

Where do I buy tickets?

Tickets are currently available up to December 2018, and are only available through Ticketmasterdelfontmackintosh.co.uk and hamiltonthemusical.co.uk.  

Those lucky enough to secure tickets will not actually get their hands on them until the night. The Broadway production has been plagued by touts, who buy up entire blocks of seats online before reselling them for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars to desperate punters. Therefore, producers Delfont Mackintosh and the Victoria Palace Theatre are attempting to operate a tout-proof system whereby ticket-holders are required to present ID, booking confirmation and the card used for the booking before they are admitted into the auditorium.

A maximum of six tickets are sold to any person and reselling is “strictly forbidden”. 

How much are tickets?

Official ticket prices range from £32.50 to £200.

However, as it does on Broadway, the West End Hamilton operates a daily lottery which fans can enter on the show’s website or via its official app. Every day, random winners will be offered two prime seats for the next day’s performance for just £10 each.

How did Hamilton become a phenomenon?

Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who initially starred in the leading role, Hamilton transforms the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton into a hip-hop rags-to-riches tale.

Its innovative mixture of rap, RnB and big Broadway ballads is performed by a cast largely made up of black and Hispanic actors.

Bursting onto a musical scene often criticised as hidebound, uninventive and obsessed with the "classics", Hamilton was a breath of fresh air to many critics, winning near-universal adulation.

"It really is that good," says Ben Brantley in the New York Times.

Hamilton's ability to blend hip-hop with traditional Broadway stylings is proof that the musical "is not only surviving but also evolving in ways that should allow it to thrive and transmogrify in years to come", he adds.

Will Lin-Manuel Miranda ever star in the West End transfer?

Miranda played his stage creation for the final time on Broadway in July 2016 and was replaced in the role by his understudy, Javier Munoz.

In London, the part of Alexander Hamilton is played by Westman. Previously in Torn at the Royal Court, Westman is not a “big name casting” says Shanine Salmon on viewfromthecheapseat.com but “this is very much in keeping with what Hamilton is about; multi-cultural casting and showcasing new talents”.

However, this doesn’t mean London audiences won’t have the opportunity to see the original star don 18th-century breeches once more.

Mackintosh told the Daily Telegraph that Miranda “definitely” intends to reprise his performance on the London stage, although not at the beginning of the run.

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