In a piece in June called “Stop the Bots From Killing Broadway,” Hamilton author Lin-Manual Miranda tried to identify ways to make tickets to his show cheaper even as demand for them skyrockets.
While addressing the reality that “many people who want to see Hamilton can’t,” Miranda initially – and correctly – attributed the problem to “simple economics: The demand for tickets exceeds the number of seats in the theater on a given night.”
He then spent the rest of the piece ignoring simple economics by trying to figure out ways to repeal the law of supply and demand.
The laws of supply and demand are not subject to repeal and replace
But the law of supply and demand, like the law of gravity and unlike say, the Affordable Care Act, is not subject to repeal and replace. The only way to make Hamilton cheaper is to make more Hamilton to meet the demand.
If, say, four theatres along the Great White Way were to mount their own versions of Miranda’s musical, tickets prices would likely come in direct correlation to the number of additional seats available.
Although it might be fun to see all four versions to compare and contrast. In which case the increased supply would also increase demand, and the whole cycle starts back up again.
In any case, the four-theater solution isn’t likely to bring down prices for Springsteen on Broadway, the one-man show performed by rock star Bruce Springsteen. In it, he mixes musical performances with biographical monologues that provide context and color commentary to his rock star career.
Springsteen’s work celebrating the common man is not likely to be seen by many common men
Springsteen’s repertoire is a body of work celebrating the working class and the common man, the kind of people who will never be able to cough up the cost of a ticket to his latest show.
The resellers that so concerned Lin-Manuel Miranda are selling Springsteen tickets for as much as $12,500 a pop. That won’t sit well with the Boss’s blue collar clientele, but they’ll never get a chance to see this unless they add tens of thousands of additional seats to the Walter Kerr Theatre, where the seat count only goes up to 939.
Fans of Bruce should wait until he goes on tour and tells these stories in huge arenas, where more available tickets can lower overall prices. But until Lin-Manuel’s musicals can be performed in football stadiums, the law of supply and demand means that Hamilton fans are probably out of luck.
(Publicity photo for Springsteen on Broadway.)