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Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Stand-by | Joined: 2/13/16

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 2/21/16 at 8:11pm

There is a Hamilton Cancellation Line thread that was created in 2015, before the Broadway show. Now that thread is more than a dozen pages long with hundreds of comments. So I've drafted a  frequently asked questions post. Note, they are subject (and likely) to change and have not all been confirmed by theater officials. Post anecdotes, more questions or follow-up questions to the Hamilton Cancellation Line thread.





What is the Hamilton cancellation line?

The Hamilton cancellation line is a line of people outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre, to which unclaimed tickets for the day's matinee and evening performances are sold.


How does the cancellation line work?

Patrons stand in a line starting at the left of the theater doors (facing the theater) going toward the Marriott Hotel. Once the box office opens, same-day cancellation tickets are offered to the first person in line, as they become available throughout the day until after showtime (usually within 5 minutes after curtain) and the box office confirms there are no more seats to sell. An attendant will come out and tell the first people in line how many tickets they have. The first person then accepts or passes on the offer. The assumption is that everyone cares about the number of tickets and not price, or location, unless it's premium, so they will usually not announce price or location (unless they are premium) until you get to the window. If you decide you don't want the tickets then, you return to your spot in line.


What are "cancellation tickets" and where do they come from?

"Cancellation" is a bit of a misnomer. A better word is "unclaimed." While the theater has not publicly confirmed the origin of cancellation tickets and how they become available, most have deduced that cancellation tickets are a combination of different kinds of unclaimed theater seats:


  • O Reserved House Seats: The theater puts tickets aside for very special last minute guests. When those go unclaimed they are sold to the cancellation line. These are the most consistently available cancellation tickets. Chances are they will be in center orchestra and sold immediately before curtain. When planning your visit, think about how many VIP guests you think will want to come to the show, given the time, weather, performers, etc.
  • O Unclaimed Digital Lottery Tickets: Twenty-one front and second row seats are raffled off online (at least for winter months) for each performance. Winners have an hour to claim and purchase their tickets. If they don't, the tickets are sold to cancellation. This includes in-house screw-ups or show cancellations in which technical malfunctions or weather compromise a fair and safe lottery.
  • O Standing Room: Like house seats,the theater reserves standing room tickets for special guests of production, cast, crew, etc. When they go unclaimed they are sold to the cancellation line. They are low in price (about $40 as of Feb. 2016). With these tickets you will have to stand in the back of the theater for the duration of the show.
  • O True Cancellations: If for some bizarre reason a ticket holder or group of ticket holders were kind enough to call the theater, let the staff know that they are unable to attend the show and return their tickets, or if someone does not pick up their ticket from the box office, the ticket(s) would be sold to the cancellation line. 


How many tickets are sold and what are my odds of getting one?

There is no fixed number of cancellation tickets offered. Some shows may have a plethora of tickets; others may have none. Since many cancellation seats are unclaimed house seats, generally, there are at least a handful of cancellation tickets for each performance. Legend has it that the most tickets that have been given out has been 13. I've personally seen 11. It's safe to say, that it is unlikely there will be 20 or 30 tickets available for any performance. As for odds, the closer you are to the front of the line, the better your odds of getting one of the tickets. Some people believe the theater sets aside at least a row's worth of tickets for guests. A typical row at the Richard Rodgers Theatre has about 10 or 11 seats. If this is true, add this to the number of standing room spaces and subtract how many will be claimed by special guests. The answer is usually somewhere under 15.


What time does the box office start selling tickets?

The box office offers tickets to the cancellation line as they become available, starting from the time the box office opens until after the show begins and / or the box office confirms all tickets have been sold and claimed for the performance. Most of the tickets become available within 1hr- 30 minutes leading up to curtain and 5 minutes after. At this point the tickets will become rapidly available and the first people in line will have to think quick and act fast.

How many tickets can I buy at a time?

Each individual in line can purchase up to 2 tickets.


How much are the tickets? Are they discounted?

Tickets are sold at the full box office price/ face value, including lottery tickets, which are only discounted when claimed by a lottery winner. Currently, most non-premium orchestra seats are $177. Premium seats can be $300-500.


What are premium seats?

Premium seats are seats the theater gaurantees to be the best in the house. The theater marks these seats up to prevent scalpers from selling their good seats for higher prices when they can do it themselves. Because of this, there are often  premium seats available to the cancellation line. Many line-standers will pass on this, increasing your odds if you don't mind paying for them.


Are matinee and evening tickets sold at the same time?

Tickets are sold as they become available. Due to the nature of the tickets, most cancellation tickets are sold for the next performance of the day. But tickets have been sold for another day's performance or for an evening performance before the matinee (But it is best not to expect or plan for this). Expect to wait in line for tickets for the very next performance until those have sold out.


What time does the box office open?

Usually 10 a.m Monday - Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday, but times can change.




Should I plan to be in line all day?

Yes. Plan to be in line from the time you enter until the show starts.


Is there a waiting list I can sign?

Not as of February 2016. To secure a spot in line, you must physically be in line in front of the theater.


When should I start lining up?

The earlier you arrive, the better your odds of being first in line. As the show becomes more popular the starting point for lining up will become earlier and earlier. In December 2015 and January 2016, people began successfully lining up an hour or two before the box office opened or in the afternoon for evening shows. Today (February) the first people in line (usually professional line-sitters) for matinee and weekend shows will arrive as early as 3 a.m. Many, non-professional line sitters start arriving between 5 and 6 a.m. By 8 a.m., there could be 20+ people in line on the weekends. Arriving any time after the box office opens is not ideal. For weekday and evening shows, the times may vary and start just a little later (around 8 and 9 a.m.).


Do I stand a chance if 20 people are in front of me?

It depends. Timing is a bit more important than position.  Arriving 10 minutes, or even an hour before showtime with 20 people in front of you is not a hopeful situation. Arriving at 7 a.m. with 20 people in front of you is a different story. That situation means there are more opportunities for dropouts, scalped-ticket buyers, lottery winners, passes, etc. Odds are even better if there are 2 shows that day, as some people will go for the matinee, increasing everyone else's odds for the evening performance. Some people will also drop out of the race if they don't get matinee tickets, refusing to wait another 6 hours.


Are seats, shelter, heat, food, security, medical attention, etc. provided to the cancellation lines or people with health conditions who may need them?

No. You must be prepared to stand (or bring your own seating) outside the theater in any weather condition from the time you enter the line until you leave it. There is no line policing until after the box office opens when attendants will sporadically check or count the line, or answer questions while attending to other duties like setting up ropes. You will not be able to take large items like lawn chairs into the theater and the coatroom does not not check bags or luggage.


Where is the nearest restroom, eatery or coffee shop?

Next door to the Richard Rodgers Theatre is the Marriott Hotel. There is a Starbucks on the first level (follow the signs), restrooms on the second level (take the escalators one floor up and walk behind them), and restaurants and convenience store on the 8th floor. Obviously, Times Square is a block a way.




Can I leave the line to use the restroom, eat or warm up?

There are currently no official rules on leaving the lines, but generally, people in line self police, and are understanding and gracious enough to let each other briefly step out of line for bathroom breaks, coffee, warming up, etc. But you must be present when a ticket is offered or you will be skipped.


Can I swap or alternate standing with a friend?

Again, no official rule on this, but it has generally been allowed by other line standers, who self police. But there should always be a representative in line for one or a pair of tickets. Under no circumstances should a person buying additional tickets be allowed to cut the line (i.e. holding a spot for a friend who wants to buy their own tickets, separate from you).



What's the deal with 'line-sitters' and why are they always first in line?

Due to Hamilton's popularity, a second market has formed, allowing unaffiliated third parties to profit off the show's demand. This comes in the form of scalping, scams, marked-up online resales and professional line-sitting services. Line-sitters are paid by the hour  to stand and wait in line as early as their clients are willing to pay (usually an affordable rate like $10/hr, cheaper than resale tickets). This means they are usually almost always the first in the cancellation line. As of now, the theater permits this practice. 




Where are the cancellation seats? How good are they?

Cancellation seats can be anywhere in the theater, but due to many being unclaimed house seats, many are orchestra-level and priced as such. Lottery tickets will be in one of the first 2 rows of the theater (which is not all what it's cracked up to be). Standing room, is in the back of the theater.


If I don't like the ticket offered, can I return to the cancellation line and keep my position?

Yes. The ticket will be offered to the next person in line.


Can I resell (scalp) my ticket?

New York law permits the resale of theater tickets, provided the transactions are done more than 50 feet from the box office (basically off theater property). Richard Rodgers Theatre staff has announced that if they catch scalpers soliciting or carrying out transactions (exchanging money) in front of the theater, those people will be banned from the cancellation line for good. In short, it is legal to "scalp" tickets, just do not be seen doing so on theater property by theater attendees. In some cases patrons who the theater attendants trust (i.e. ticket holders seeking refunds from the box office, which doesn't give them)  may be referred to the cancellation line, but will still have to make the final transaction OFF Rodgers property (go the the Marriott).


If I don't receive a ticket,do I have alternative options?

If the box office runs out of tickets, you may have other options. Regular ticket scalpers, patrons with extra tickets (i.e. people whose companions were unable to make the show) and Stubhub/Ticketmaster resales are options, but tend to be marked up.




What are some tips to help me stand in line or increase my odds?


  • O Matinees, especially Sunday shows, may have more tickets available  (Lin does not do Sundays and other cast members have been known to be absent from matinees. VIP guests may not like this), BUT evening-show-only days means the line starts later. 


  • O If you can't arrive before 7 a.m. get there at 2 p.m. As of now, arriving before 6 a.m. for matinee shows and 7 a.m. for evening-only days gives you good odds. Any time after that is pushing it. However, on matinee days the line usually dwindles significantly when it is confirmed that the matinee is completely sold out. Some people just aren't willing to double their wait time and wait for the evening show after being let down, especially if it's cold outside. So if it's 10 a.m. on a matinee day, and you aren't in line, you can get away with waiting to join the line between 12 and 2 p.m. when it dwindles. This of course will change as the show becomes more popular and evening show-buyers start lining up early and the weather gets better.


  • O When it's cold (even 60 degrees can feel cold when you're just sitting in it) dress in layers and wear warm socks. Wearing layers of socks cuts off blood circulation and will numb your feet, so wear one or 2 pairs of really good warm socks instead of several layers of thin, tight ones


  • O Bring a small seat, chair, crate or blanket. Be prepared to throw them away in the dumpster across the street or tuck them away when the show starts. Don't abandon them around the theater lest you risk an all-out ban on chairs when attendants complain. 


  • O Enter the lottery while waiting in line (people in line have won the lotteries before).


  • O Bring cash, in case trust-worthy scalpers stop by the line. This usually happens within an hour or half hour before the curtain as guests start to arrive. Sometimes a patron will have "extra tickets" from their friends and families who couldn't make it with them (remember many bought their tickets several months ago). Keep your eyes and ears open for them. You will have to be quick and stealthy, though. It is generally polite and customary to allow the first people in the cancellation line first dibs on these (i.e. referring the scalper to the front of the line).


  • O Beware of fake tickets. Many ticket scams occur online/the web. But if offered a ticket in line, be aware of the possibility that it could be fake. Ask to see the ticket. Few scammers are going to spend the money, resources and effort printing authentic looking/feeling box office tickets, but it has happened. Print-at-home style tickets are another story. One clue that the ticket is legitimate is if the scalper is selling a seat next to theirs (because  a companion is unable to make it) and can show you their ticket and/or will also be seeing the show. Legitimate tickets should also have the appropriate/correct time and date and perforated edges.


  • O Make friends with your line buddies. It makes the time go by faster.


  • O Look around you if you get in! Again, most tickets (Row J-ish) are reserved house seats, so you just may be sitting next to or near a celebrity or Broadway hot shot. Even if you don't make it inside, the cast can be seen sneaking in and out the stage doors to grab lunch or dinner in between shows. Watch the doors about an hour or two before the show. Be alert as patrons start to enter the theater. If you're paying attention, you just may spot a famous person or two heading inside to see the hottest show in town.



Where can I learn more or ask questions that haven't been addressed?

Read the Hamilton Cancellation Line Thread. It has anecdotes and a slew of questions dispersed through hundreds of messages.

Updated On: 3/22/16 at 08:11 PM
Dave13 Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Broadway Star | Joined: 6/4/11

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 2/21/16 at 10:59pm

Although not sure we need a second thread, as this could have been posted in the original thread, I do appreciate the effort to spell it out in one post. 


From my own personal experience standing in the cancellation line, I believe all of the information is accurate. The only thing I would add is most of the cancellation tickets are in Row J. I believe these are the house seats, and this seems to be pretty consistent with what I have witnessed and others have posted. 

Not to be confused with Dave19.
JBroadway Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 4/6/12

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 2/21/16 at 11:13pm

vdirects said: "Legend has it that the most tickets that have been given out has been 13"


Nay, for I do declare that be naught but heresay! Listen not to such legends. I shall believe it when there be hard proof before my very eyes! 




:P sorry I couldn't resist. I like the idea that the Hamilton cancellation line is the source of legends, lol. Thanks for putting all that time into this FAQ :)

Updated On: 2/21/16 at 11:13 PM
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 5/28/15

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 2/21/16 at 11:22pm

There's already a thread for this.  No one cares :)

Hellob Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Broadway Star | Joined: 5/15/15

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 2/21/16 at 11:54pm

Margo319 said: "There's already a thread for this.  No one cares :)



Exactly. But it does take a certain type of person to write a FAQ after being here 1 week. I'm surprised there was time in between writing the theater demanding the ban of sitters and researching said sitters' business model to make sure you know their kindness is for show. Busy guy. 

ETA- it's not even a full disclosure FAQ since you're anti line sitters so you don't explain that option, instead you make it seem like the sitters are there to thwart their chances. You should include the various choices for a true FAQ

Updated On: 2/21/16 at 11:54 PM
Stand-by | Joined: 2/13/16

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 2/22/16 at 12:30am

"Although not sure we need a second thread, as this could have been posted in the original thread, I do appreciate the effort to spell it out in one post. "


Thanks. I posted this in a separate thread to sum up the FAQs in the other thread so one doesn't have to sift through 100s of messages and anecdotes, or ask the same questions over again. And also so that they can all be at the top of the thread instead of possibly getting buried by more messages, which would defeat the purpose. This is something I would have wanted to see when I was cancellation line illiterate :)

Updated On: 2/22/16 at 12:30 AM
Telegram Spam
Chorus Member
Chorus Member | Joined: 2/8/11

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 2/25/16 at 12:05pm

This is a very clear and well written summary of "Hamilton" cancellation line rules. I don't know if it was written by somebody who works at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, somebody who works for Nederlander, or simply a well informed fan of the show...but it is greatly appreciated! Thank you!

bjh2114 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 4/19/06

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 2/25/16 at 7:35pm

Margo319 said: "There's already a thread for this.  No one cares :)"

Actually, speak for yourself.  I found this thread to be far more organized and concise.  So some of us do care. :)

Stand-by | Joined: 2/13/16

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 2/26/16 at 7:54pm

Thank you. I'm glad it's useful.

Stand-by | Joined: 2/13/16

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 3/14/16 at 9:29pm

Less than a month and line up times have shifted a couple hours sooner

Swing | Joined: 3/20/16

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 3/20/16 at 12:44pm

Any updates to the rules or procedures?

The article about line capping got a lot of traction, but what else has changed? (If anything).

Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 12/2/10

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 3/20/16 at 5:00pm

Margo319 said: "There's already a thread for this.  No one cares :)



I assume you've questioned everyone here since you felt qualified to state that NO one cares. I guess you missed me however. I appreciate the effort to summarize all this into one post and it's going to be very helpful to someone for sure. I also don't get the smiley face after you basically told someone what they wrote was a waste of time. Frankly if anything is a waste of time here, it wasn't the original post. 

Stand-by | Joined: 2/13/16

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 3/22/16 at 12:58am

I'm not aware of any changes to cancellation line rules, other than the line sometimes starts to the right of the theater doors, away from the Marriott.

Updated On: 3/22/16 at 12:58 AM
Understudy | Joined: 1/11/16

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 5/12/16 at 2:34pm

New cancellation line rules...

You'll probably be able to "swap out" prior to the box office opening (either at 10 am or 12 pm depending on the day of the week).

Updated On: 5/12/16 at 02:34 PM
Hellob Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Broadway Star | Joined: 5/15/15

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 5/12/16 at 2:36pm

Seems kind of cruel to ban chairs outright. They should allow the ones that collapse small enough to fit in large purse. 

Leading Actor
Leading Actor | Joined: 3/17/17

Hamilton Cancellation Line FAQ

Posted: 10/10/17 at 6:15pm

If they offer you seated tickets, can you ask for SRO tickets instead?