The hotly anticipated West End run of “Hamilton” has been delayed by two weeks because renovation work on London’s Victoria Palace Theater is taking longer than expected, the play’s producers announced Friday.
Preview performances of the multiple-Tony-Award-winning show – which is already sold out until June of next year – were to begin Nov. 21 but have been re-scheduled to start Dec. 6. The official opening night has been put back from Dec. 7 to Dec. 21, only a few days before Christmas.
The postponement means that the originally scheduled first 16 preview performances have been canceled. But the producers said ticket-holders to those performances would be re-accommodated early in the show’s run using seats that they had held in reserve.
Cameron Mackintosh, who in addition to co-producing “Hamilton” owns the Victoria Palace Theater, apologized to ticket-holders for the delay. He said redevelopment work on the historic building was a “once-in-a-hundred-years opportunity” that had proved extremely challenging.
“It has been an extraordinary undertaking, both thrilling and fraught, not only because of the complexity of putting what is practically a brand new building into the shell of a much-loved historical masterpiece, but because it was also the ideal theater for the most eagerly awaited American musical in decades,” Mackintosh said in a statement.
“We have therefore needed to take a pragmatic decision to reschedule the previews of ‘Hamilton,’” Mackintosh added. “I am, of course, sorry to amend the performance schedule, but undertaking a private rebuilding project on this scale in Central London has no precedent.”
“Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller also said he was “extremely sorry to disappoint patrons who we know expended time, effort, and valuable resources to purchase tickets for our first performances. But they will be given immediate priority so that they can be re-seated as early as possible.”
The London production of “Hamilton” is seen as a litmus test of whether the show can imitate its domestic success in international markets. The play, which centers on American founding father Alexander Hamilton, has been a smash hit in the U.S. on Broadway. It has since opened in L.A. and even spawned a dedicated app.
“We have been looking forward to coming to London since the day after we opened in New York,” Seller said. “We chose the Victoria Palace Theater because it will be the very best place to experience ‘Hamilton.’”