The transcendence of the musical "Hamilton" is spiking interest in Sunday's Tony Awards, and demand for tickets to Sunday's 8 p.m. ceremony is way up. "Through the roof," said Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing, which oversees the Tonys with the Broadway League. "To the moon."
Supply, on the other hand, is tighter than usual. The venue for the annual New York theater extravaganza is not the 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall, where the Tonys have been held all but three years since 2000. Instead it's the Beacon Theatre, which is a bit uptown from most Broadway houses and substantially smaller than Radio City at roughly 2,800 seats.
Why? Radio City has another booking in the Rockettes, beginning its "New York Spectacular" June 15. It's happened before: The Tonys moved to the Beacon in 2011 and 2012, as Radio City hosted Cirque du Soleil.
Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin says she gets it. Speaking from New York with Hitchens on Tuesday, St. Martin said, "As a former venue operator and hotelier, I can tell you you'd rather have a booking for three months than for three weeks."
The gossipy angle is that the venue switch is sour grapes leftover from last year's Tonys, when the musical "Finding Neverland" (a "spectacularly noisy and awkward misfire," according to The Post's Peter Marks) earned zero nominations. "Neverland" was produced by Harvey Weinstein and the Madison Square Garden Company, led by James Dolan. Madison Square Garden Entertainment owns and operates both the Beacon and Radio City. Also the Rockettes.
"I don't choose to believe the Dolans have a problem with the Tony Awards," St. Martin said. "Until I know different, that's what I'll continue to believe."
"There's no doubt we'd rather be at Radio City if we could be," Hitchens said, noting that the Beacon "looks beautiful on TV." "We choose not to look at the dark side in any of this."
The organizers went through the tight ticket issue in 2011 as the hilariously rude "Book of Mormon" (by the "South Park" creators) heightened public interest and tickets had to be rationed at the smaller Beacon. Last year as the lower-key "Fun Home" took the top musical prize at Radio City, tickets were available to the public for $300 to $500.
This year, no tickets were made available to the public as the organizers accommodated industry demand for seats. Nominees are comped a pair; theater insiders then have an opportunity (via invitation) to buy tickets at $1,750 each.
Told that as of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday tickets were posted on StubHub for between nearly $17,000 to $39,000 each, Hitchens and St. Martin fumed.
"That's called scalping," Hitchens said sharply.
"That saddens me and surprises me," St. Martin said, adding that if the organizers discovered tickets being sold on the secondary market, "we would make those tickets null and void."
The Tonys had a three-year contract with Radio City that expired last year. Currently there is no contract for future Tony venues, though the organizers, faced with a change for 2011, conducted a wide search of likely houses and has shortlisted three or four, including Lincoln Center's Koch Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House.