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Don't Love 'Hamilton' So Hard You Get Scammed, Attorney General Warns

By Mae Rice in News on Jun 8, 2016 2:55PM

A still from the New York musical, from David Korins Design

Listen, all of us in Chicago love Hamilton from afar. The Lincoln Park Zoo just named their baby camel "Alexander Camelton." Back in April, Gawker reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel went to see Hamilton.... the day after the Chicago teacher walkout.

But even when you love something dearly, you should still make sure you're not buying shady tickets to it. So says Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who issued a statement Tuesday warning consumers against buying "speculative tickets" to Hamilton's forthcoming Chicago run. (The show hits Chicago Sept. 27, though it's unlikely show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will star in the Chicago version.)

Hamilton tickets aren't on sale yet, but some ticket websites are already selling them (at hefty markups), assuming they'll be able to snag tickets in the future. StubHub, for instance, is selling tickets to Hamilton in Chicago now, some of them for more than $2,000 a pop. Not only are tickets to the show not on sale yet—an on-sale date hasn't even been announced,

“Websites claiming to offer advance tickets before they are available to the public should stand out as a red flag," Madigan said in her statement. “The best way for consumers to be in the audience for popular shows is to make sure they purchase tickets from a reputable seller." To assess "reputability," she advised Hamilton enthusiasts to check out their ticket purveyor with the Better Business Bureau, and only buy tickets after they've officially gone on sale.

As Miranda recently discussed in a New York Times op-ed, though, buying tickets from the most reputable source—the IRL box office—has become basically impossible, at least in New York. Ticket-buying bots for resale sites (Miranda specifically name-checks StubHub and Vivid Seats) snatch up high-profile tickets at "lightning speed," he writes, only to resell them at a markup. The bots are illegal in New York, but pervasive; since both the resale sites he calls out operate in Chicago, bots are presumably also at work here.

Which is all to say: Good luck getting your Hamilton tickets! You'll need it. We hope you don't get seated behind an extremely wide pole.