New York City: The Richard Rogers Theater
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s epic spectacle “Hamilton: An American Musical” began its run at the off-Broadway Public Theater, New York’s longtime proving ground. After selling out show after show, “Hamilton”’s creators knew they needed a bigger venue. On August 6, 2015, the show opened at the Richard Rogers Theater. With a seating capacity of over 1,300, “Hamilton” still sold out nearly every performance.
Because of its enormous capacity, the Richard Rogers necessarily includes some seats with limited views of the stage. The lottery seats, for example, are located in the first two rows, down on the floor, orchestra section. This means audience members must look almost directly up to see the performance and may have a partially obstructed view due to the lip of the stage.
Some box seats, being situated at the far sides of the stage, might restrict your view of some action on stage. The best seats in the house are generally a few rows back in the orchestra level or anywhere in the front mezzanine. The more centered you are, the more of the action you will be able to take in at a glance. However, even the rear mezzanine at the Richard Rogers offers amazing, unobstructed views of the entire performance.
Chicago: CIBC Theater
Those familiar with the CIBC Theater in Chicago, which previously ran the Tony-winning “The Book of Mormon,” know that the theater famously contains many obstructed view – or “OV” – seats among its 1,800 capacity. Nearly all the sections in the front balcony, and the side sections of the Mezzanine and the Dress Circle levels contain OV seats.
For the best views of “Hamilton” at the CIBC Theater in Chicago, try to get tickets as close to the center of a row as possible. No matter which level you are on, sitting as close as possible to the stage center is essential if you want fully unobstructed views.
In the Dress Circle and Mezzanine levels, getting seats as close to the front as possible are your best bets for seeing the entire stage and all the action. When in doubt, go for closer rows rather than more center seats at those levels.
Note that the seating at the CIBC is pretty steep, so that by the time you get to the balcony section your views may be obstructed by the top of the set itself. Also, note that some seats which are not marked as “obstructed” may actually turn out to be OV seats anyway. Check seating charts before buying your tickets.
London: The Victoria Palace Theatre
In December 2017, “Hamilton: An American Musical” officially opened in London’s West End, beginning a run that continues today. As with the Richard Rogers and the CIBC, there are drastically different views depending on where you sit: and where you sit will be determined by what you are willing to pay.
As with the CIBC, sitting closer to the center of the stage will give you better views; however, as with the Richard Rogers, sitting too close to the stage will obstruct your line of site due to the lip of the stage being practically in your lap.
The next two levels up at the Victoria Palace are the Dress Circle and Grand Circle, respectively. For prices near the higher end of the spectrum, the Dress Circle offers nearly no bad seats, though staying close to the center is still preferable to sitting off to the side. And if you don’t mind sitting higher up and farther from the stage, the Grand Circle certainly offers the best views for your Pounds Sterling.
San Francisco: SHN Orpheum Theatre
The Orpheum in San Francisco offers three Orchestra level options: Orchestra Center, Orchestra Left, and Orchestra Right. Orchestra Center, in rows D-L, offers the best seats in the house. Seating at the very far edges is not guaranteed to be unobstructed views of the entire stage.
The next levels up are the Loge and Mezzanine, which both offer good views. If you want to be closer to the stage stick with the Loge rows.
Balcony rows offer the cheapest seats, but in return, you are also significantly farther away from the stage with the least amount of legroom.