Howard and Esther Borer are avid theatre-goers but this is the first year they have bought a subscription to Mirvish Productions. And there's one reason only — Hamilton: An American Musical is coming to Toronto next year.
"I've heard about Hamilton, I've read about it. Everybody who we know that has seen it has loved it," said Howard Borer after leaving a matinee performance of Dear Evan Hansen at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
The Borers have already seen several shows at Toronto's Mirvish theatres this year, but didn't want to leave getting tickets to the upcoming Hamilton production up to chance, so they bought a subscription to the whole 2019-2020 Mirvish season.
Hamilton takes the stage in February 2020 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, the biggest venue Mirvish has with 2,200 seats — double the size of the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
"We thought it was a good time to become subscribers," said Esther Borer.
47,000 subscriptions sold out
And they're not the only ones who've made this move.
Tens of thousands of people, it turns out, have bought Mirvish subscriptions, causing them to sell out early.
"Yes, we've broken a record," said John Karastamatis, the director of communications at Mirvish Productions. "Most years we still have subscriptions going into the fall and now it's the beginning of July."
A total of 47,000 subscriptions sold out for the 2019-2020 theatre season after going on sale in February.
The last time something like this happened was in 1989-1990 when Les Miserables came to town.
A Mirvish subscription not only guarantees tickets to every show, it also means people can keep the same seats throughout the season and can change the date they'll see the show at the last minute if they can't make it.
"Our subscribers get to pick the show in the first six weeks that it's out," said Karastamatis.
Fans travel to see the musical
Hamilton is the story of one of United States' founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who rose to become George Washington's right-hand man during the American Revolutionary War. The hip-hop musical has won numerous awards since it first graced the stage in 2015.
Many theatre fans, including Ben Finnigan, have gone to different cities to see it.
"I originally saw it because my wife is a massive theatre nerd and she was the one who convinced me to see it the first time and we just loved it so much that we had to go see it again," said Finnigan.
His first viewing was in Buffalo, N.Y. The second was in Rochester, N.Y. after Finnigan realized the city "was only a four-hour drive from Toronto."
"There's a huge demand to see Hamilton; it is the most in-demand show in the theater world," said Karastamatis. "We have people call and email and they want to know when tickets will go on sale."
There's no clear date as to when tickets will hit the market, but Karastamatis speculates it could happen in the fall.
Mirvish's 47,000 membership subscribers will get first pick. The play will run for 14 weeks and there will be "100,000 tickets to buy."
Not having a subscription doesn't worry Finnigan. He plans on seeing the play again since he's "flexible" with his dates.