'Hamilton' Is Coming to Sarasota as Part of the Van Wezel's 2023-24 Season
Hamilton lovers, don’t throw away your shot to see this megahit musical, an 11-time Tony winner, when it finally makes its bow on the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall stage, for a two-week run March 26 through April 7, 2024.
That’s right, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s much acclaimed take on one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, is on its way, some eight years after it took Broadway by storm. The journey from the Great White Way to Sarasota hasn’t been an easy one, according to Van Wezel executive director Mary Bensel.
“I’ve been working on [bringing the show here] for five years,” Bensel says. “I know the producer and he told me, ‘We need to play larger venues’" [than the 1,700-seat-plus Van Wezel]. But he did agree to playing two smaller venues, with certain financial commitments, says Bensel. “I can remember what I wore the day the day I heard, I was so excited to get it.”
The pandemic, of course, postponed Hamilton’s arrival here, as theaters shut down and gradually reopened, with Hamilton first having to make up its postponed dates before moving to later scheduled halls. Given the Van Wezel’s size, the show “needs to be a sellout,” says Bensel, for the risks to pay off. “But I’ve never seen it play to less than 99 percent anywhere, and I’ve conferred with others in the field on that.”
Hamilton’s two-week run is part of a longer process at work, trying to make Sarasota and the Van Wezel a full-week market, rather than bringing in shows for just two or three performances. That’s worked in the past with hits like The Lion King, and it continues to be the path forward.
Hamilton isn’t the only splashy Broadway musical making its way to the hall for the 2023-24 season. Bensel has also announced five other Tony-winning shows. Among them: the Sarasota premiere of Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations, a Tony winner for Best Choreography (Feb. 21-25); Pretty Woman: The Musical (Nov. 27 and 28, 2023); The Cher Show, complete with 34 of the superstar’s hits and a raft of Bob Mackie gowns (Jan. 10-12); Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill, also a Sarasota premiere (Feb. 27 and 28); and the timeless story of Little Women, based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel (March 7 and 8).
Two more big hits: the family-oriented Shrek the Musical (April 16 and 17); and the winner of eight Tony Awards, Hadestown, telling the mythical tale of Orpheus and Eurydice and King Hades and his wife, Persephone (Jan. 30-Feb. 4). Part-time Sarasotan Tom Kirdahy has been a producer of that show, also a Sarasota premiere, and was set to be on hand last week when the hall’s subscription series was rolled out for donors and subscribers.
But back to Hamilton for a minute. Bensel suggests that if you really want to be in the room where it happens, you become a subscriber right away. “At this point, the producers haven’t set a single ticket price for the show, but they have set the subscription series prices,” she says. Depending on the package you purchase, those subscriptions could mean snagging a ticket to Hamilton for anything from $59 to $259, plus taxes and handling fees.
The Van Wezel has also announced its newly titled World Music Series offerings, including the all-male comic ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (Jan. 14); the 70th anniversary of the Paul Taylor Dance Company (March 18); and chamber orchestra The Academy of St Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell (March 23). Other performances announced: the annual Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert (Dec. 30); the comedy dog spectacular Mutts Gone Nuts (Jan. 13); The Four Phantoms in Concert (Jan. 17); Robert Dubac’s Stand Up Jesus (Jan. 18); and the annual musical sellout Neil Berg’s 114 Years of Broadway (March 14).
To find out more about subscribing, call the box office at (941) 263-6799, stop by Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or visit vanwezel.org.