Theater for College Students: Accessibility and “Hamilton”

By Tara Dalton

via Public Theater
via Public Theater

 Theater is an experience.  Whether you’ve attended ten shows this school year alone or are looking forward to seeing your first Broadway show this semester, it’s undeniably exciting to be involved with New York’s theater scene.

“Wait!” a voice cries out from the back of the room. “I love plays and musicals but I can’t afford $150 tickets! I’m the embodiment of the poor college student stereotype! My unhappy, show-less fate is all but certain.”

Ah, have no fear, bodiless thespian voice, for this column is perfect for you! Each week I’ll be highlighting some really cool shows that you can see without ruining your budget for the semester.

Shows shouldn’t be limited to a select lucky few who can afford them. It’s an art everyone can benefit from and often can explain issues just as if not more clearly than other artistic mediums. Consider the statements made by shows such as “Rent” or “Next to Normal”: they bring awareness to grave issues and the emotional context and impact such issues have.

As college students, there are a myriad of opportunities available regarding discounted theater tickets. Theater accessibility is a goal that’s shared amongst many companies and consequently, outreach programs frequently offer discount opportunities aside from the standard wait-in-the-TKTS-line in Times Square.

On February 19, I was lucky enough to win a $10 ticket to see “Hamilton,” a new musical at the Public Theater. “Hamilton” follows the struggles and accomplishments of the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. It’s been wildly popular amongst critics, particularly due to its innovative incorporation of popular music into history.

Three words: Rapping. Founding. Fathers.

No, it’s not lame. Every person I’ve talked to has been absolutely convinced regarding this show’s brilliance. If you need proof, Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the book, music and lyrics of the show, rapped about Hamilton’s life in his performance of “The Hamilton  Mixtape” to president Obama at the 2009 White House Poetry Jam.

I got my ticket to the completely sold-out show through my dorm, University Hall. (Keep an eye out for deals in your dorm activity emails and for posters in the lobby as often really great programs like this occur every semester!) However, if you’re feeling unlucky, don’t be too upset just yet: there are still ways to get your own.

The show has a daily lottery called “Hamilton for a Hamilton” on Today Tix, an app I can’t get enough of. If you win, tickets are – you guessed it – ten dollars. You can double or triple your odds of winning by sharing an ad for the app on Twitter or Facebook. I highly recommend downloading it. It’s free and its theater deals are great. (Side note: I’ll discuss Today Tix in more depth in a later column.)

In addition to this in-app lottery, the Public Theater runs an in-person lottery in the theater’s lobby two and a half hours before evening performances and one and half hours before matinee performances. Tickets in this program, if you win, are $20.

“Hamilton” will transfer to Broadway after its run at the Public ends on May 3.

Tara Dalton is a contributing writer. Email her at


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