Doing the impossible: finding tickets for the Donmar’s “Hamlet” (with Jude Law)

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You know, you go back to the Donmar West End‘s ticket site and over and over see “Hamlet is now sold out” and you call the theater and they say, “Oh NOES we has no tickets, please go wait in line in front of the theater with the other losers for a chance at standing through the show” (after standing in line for eight hours) and then you realize that YES you have magic and you say, “I shall call and see if I can get just a single ticket for the very last Wednesday matinee as I am free that day” and the lovely lady goes ahead and looks for you (as you have urged her to do) and LO there is not a sold out show in London that I have not been able to get tickets for yet and I shall see my cinematic idol performing the works of the bard before it goes to Broadway and for the mere price of £25 quid. And sitting down to book. Lo, truly, I am magic!

(Note: I’m pleased to see that they are actually going to make an effort, in the Donmar style, to keep this Hamlet affordable when it makes it to the other side of the pond. Pere Telecharge, regular price for evening tickets for this show in New York on a weekend is $251.50; weekend matinees are $226.50; otherwise it’s $116.50 and then the $25 tickets. I admit that part of the reason I am seeing it here, now, is because I am saving so much money over what I would be if I were seeing it in New York. That said, people who shop now for this show can get $25 tickets in the upper mezzanine; good on the Donmar for making an effort to actually let normal people enjoy theater instead of it just being a treat for the fat cats!)

HINTS FOR GETTING TICKETS TO SOLD OUT SHOWS without going to scalpers
1. Be flexible about the date you can go and number of tickets you need.
2. Call the house and keep checking on availability.
3. On the day of, it may pay to check several times a day, especially as it gets toward the end of the day.
4. Wheedle with the ticket staff to check.
5. Ask if there’s a waiting list and ask to be put on it.
6. Show up night of and get in line.
7. If you’re in line, have cash in your hand (and be ready to pay it out for the top priced ticket)
8. See someone looking like they’re going to sell a ticket and you’re in line? See if you can make eye contact with them and get them to just sell it to you, but be sure that if you do this, you’re buying a real ticket. You’ll make everyone else in line hate you if you effectively queue jump them, but hey, it’s a tough life and you’ll never see them again.
9. Matinees are magic because there are always less people looking to see those shows.

(Hamlet runs at Wyndham’s through 22nd August 2009, after which it moves to the Broadhurst Theatre in New York, from September 12th through December 6th. $25 tickets are available now, so don’t hesitate to buy if you’re hoping to see this on the cheap!)

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5 Responses to “Doing the impossible: finding tickets for the Donmar’s “Hamlet” (with Jude Law)”

  1. PB Says:

    Woop! You have a very informative blog — I’m desperately trying to get tickets for any September matinee show of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ — but alas, waiting in line and calling up many times a day would be infinitely easier if I actually lived in London 😦 Any suggestions as to what I could do to contact them/hassle them repeatedly from about an hour out of London? And do Donmar do waiting lists? For if so, I shall le email them this minute, nay, this very blessed second.

    Thank you for your wonderfully useful posts! I still haven’t learnt that dread lesson, that tickets for good shows in the West End will sell out before you learn of them, and then you shall live to rue the day. Rarrghh!!!

    • webcowgirl Says:

      Generally speaking, if any tickets become available it won’t be until the day of or the day before. Unfortunately they don’t do the waiting list thing.

      And Streetcar sold out in June or so – the Donmar’s shows are so popular that it pays to become a friend of the Donmar so you can get in on the early booking period.

  2. Review – A Streetcar Named Desire – Donmar Warehouse « Life in the Cheap Seats – Webcowgirl’s London theatre reviews Says:

    […] room tickets for every performance, and this is worth standing through. Else, please see my tips on getting tickets for sold out shows.) Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Ron Livingston says that “Grey’s […]

  3. Review – Hamlet, Donmar/Wyndhams « Sans Taste Says:

    […] P.S. There’s a good guide to getting tickets for this (and other) impossibly sold out shows over at Life in the Cheap Seats. […]

  4. Review – Hamlet, Donmar/Wyndhams Says:

    […] a good guide to getting tickets for this (and other) impossibly sold out shows over at Life in the Cheap Seats. Tags: cardigans, donmar warehouse, jude law, shakespeare, […]

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