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ENTERTAINMENT ARTS & CULTURE

These teachers waited in line nearly 24 hours to be first for 'Hamilton' L.A. tickets

Two middle-school teachers from Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in Pacoima were the first in line to score tickets for the L.A. run of “Hamilton.” They arrived at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre at 11 a.m. Saturday armed with portable chairs and waited for the box office to open at 10 a.m. Sunday, at which point an estimated 1,500 fans formed in a line that wrapped through the lobby and down Argyle Avenue as far as the eye could see.

The teachers’ goal: to get seats for six students who are obsessed with the show. By 10:11 a.m. they walked away down Hollywood Boulevard with 12 tickets.

Here are some highlights from an active morning.

The devoted American history teacher and her husband

Leah DiVincenzo teaches American history at Vaughn. Her husband, John Woolf, teaches English. DiVincenzo explains how a Hamilton History Club turned into a quest to see the musical. Woolf was there to help.

The line for "Hamilton" tickets in L.A. was approximately 1,500 people deep by 10 a.m., Sunday.
The line for "Hamilton" tickets in L.A. was approximately 1,500 people deep by 10 a.m., Sunday. (Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times)
At 6 a.m. Pantages staff began allowing the line into its lobby, where some people spent the time sleeping. At five minutes until 10 a.m., the line was funneled out to the front of the theater where the box office stood ready to open.
At 6 a.m. Pantages staff began allowing the line into its lobby, where some people spent the time sleeping. At five minutes until 10 a.m., the line was funneled out to the front of the theater where the box office stood ready to open. (Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times)
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Overheard in the “Hamilton” L.A. line

  • “You can’t even see the tip of the iceberg right now, I can’t tell you how many times that line snakes back and forth from here,” said a security guard peeking through a front door of the Pantages into the theater’s grand lobby. The “Hamilton” soundtrack played inside, and some described the scene as a party.

There was a controversy, however

At 6 a.m. there was a dust-up, said a number of people in line who wished to remain anonymous because they were concerned about safety. The problem, they said, was that the official Pantages website said that the line for tickets would not be allowed to officially form until 6 a.m., so when they showed up and found people camping out, they were upset. Some more so than others. Shouting ensued and security was called. Ultimately the dispute was solved peacefully.

The campers versus the 6 a.m. arrivals

The campers

  • The earliest arrivals began at 11 a.m. Saturday.
  • They were transitioned offsite by security guards onto Argyle, where they waited through the night.
  • Some campers witnessed vans dropping off dozens of paid place-holders in the line.

The 6 a.m. arrivals

  • A number of the 6 a.m. arrivals were upset that the campers did not follow the rules posted on the Pantages website, which stated that the line would not be officially allowed to form until 6 a.m.
  • One fan described the scene when the new arrivals tried to get in line in front of the campers as “scary.”
  • Ultimately, however, peace was made and the two sides were urged to blend in together in the officially sanctioned line in the parking lot behind the theater, which they did.
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