Caption: “On the same frozen-cold day, C&EI E8 (1102) and Monon C420 (502) wait on their passenger trains at Dearborn Street Station’s east side tracks. The E-unit had probably brought up the C&EI train from Danville that morning, and the Monon unit was also probably laying over between runs from/to Louisville. It was one of Monon’s two steam generator equipped Alco C420 units, with the high short hoods that signified this difference from their freight kin.”
When the seven buy-in-person windows opened at 10 a.m. the PrivateBank Theatre box office — three at the regular box office and four temporary stations in the lobby — more than 1,000 people stood in a line that circled the block, running west on Monroe Street, north on Dearborn Street, east on Madison Street and then south on State Street, wrapping around the theater.
On the ticket resale site StubHub, the inventory of “Hamilton” Chicago tickets exploded Tuesday. Prices on Tuesday afternoon ranged from about $275 — for poor seats in February — to $10,000 for an average seat in the right mezzanine for the show on Dec. 23. Seller said in the previous interview that re-selling “Hamilton” tickets is not illegal in Illinois (which is true, provided a licensed broker is involved in the transaction), but it violates Broadway in Chicago’s terms of purchase.
In-person ticket buyers were limited to six seats “per household,” although it was not clear how that could be enforced, especially if more than one credit card was in use.
There were real fans in line Tuesday, whom Broadway in Chicago staffers tried to help out and humor even as they scowled at the obvious scalpers, who tended to be paying cash.
LaVonne Welker, 70, of Lindenhurst, said she had been in line since 1:30 p.m. Monday, an arrival time confirmed by Broadway in Chicago staffers. She showed a reporter two sets of tickets — one for the first night of performances Sept. 27 and one for Jan. 11, Alexander Hamilton’s birthday.
“I love the story of Alexander Hamilton,” Welker said, "He was a genius. He was a visionary. He was tragically flawed. And his story is told by another genius who just writes the best lyrics.”
Behind her was a younger fan, Bella Alcarese, 13, from suburban Westchester. She said she had been in line since 3 p.m. Monday along with her family and was running on three hours of sleep. She already had seen the show in New York but wanted to see it with her family.
“I watched the Grammys and I really got into it,” she said. "It seemed really cool.”
Her favorite song? “The Room Where It Happens,” she said, breaking out into a smile.
Hope College student Cara Maas, 18, came from Grand Rapids, Mich., to brave the line.
“We got a hotel and we were like, ‘We’ll go at 5 in the morning (Tuesday). But we’re going to check out the route to see where we’re going around 8:30 (p.m. Monday),’” she said. "So we get here and we’re like, there’s a line. We need to get in line. So we just popped a squat and we’ve been here ever since.
“We’re obsessed with the show, and a chance to see it is gonna be the best day ever for us,” she said before breaking into a rendition of “Helpless” with her friend.
Maas was among many others — from as far away as San Diego — popping a squat on the Loop sidewalk, many of them clutching phones and laptops as they tried simultaneously to buy tickets online.
Broadway in Chicago Vice President Eileen LaCario said she expected the line to diminish during the day, but it seemed clear that the box office would be busy until its closing time of 8 p.m., which was not expected to be significantly extended. By early afternoon, those who had lined up at dawn were finally reaching the box office windows.
Chatham resident Cozzetta Uwejeyan, 67, said she had arrived at 4:30 a.m. to join the line.
“This is the first time we have ever stood in line for any ticket, so this is big for us,” she said. “We’ve seen some clips of the performance on TV and we said, ‘Now that’s something we can’t miss.’ I missed ‘The Lion King.’ I was lazy. But I said, 'I’m not going to miss this one.’”