NEW EGYPT – So it appears no one has actually run the numbers, but the Google search “Are you more likely to win the lottery or win Hamilton tickets” has 16.8 million hits. Even that stat is illegitimate, and the first few hits discuss how to win the Hamilton lottery.
New Egypt High School history teacher Thomas Corby has entered the Hamilton ticket lottery every day for 4 years.
And he’s lost, every day, for 4 years.
Ticket prices fluctuate daily, depending on availability and demand, according to Ticketmaster. Just before 3 p.m. June 14, tickets to the Broadway show at Richard Rodgers Theatre were selling for $271+ each in the rear mezzanine and $660+ for orchestra seats in row M, outside Austin Scott’s spittle zone.
“I would get an alert on my phone during class saying, Sorry you didn’t win, it’s only a matter of time, and it just became an inside joke amongst the kids in myself; multiple sets of kids in multiple years too,” Corby told The Jackson Times via email June 13.
Corby is just finishing up his 19th year in New Egypt. He teaches AP US History, AP Government, USII Honors, United States Military History, America’s Pastime.
His interest in seeing Hamilton is rooted more in his appreciation for Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote and starred in the musical, than the founding father.
Corby has wanted to see the musical “since I saw the video of Lin-Manuel playing for Obama. It gripped me how different it was, the same way I try to reach kids in the classroom was the way he was doing it on stage. I showed my students the clip and watched for their reactions and it got them too. I knew that this was special.”
He continued: “I was focused mostly on the show more than the person until you [The Jackson Times] asked that, but Hamilton is a very interesting figure in history and I think Lin-Manuel saw that. He is someone that never held an office that casual observers would know, but his influence over Washington in the army and the creation of the government was greater than most people would imagine. Especially with the Bank…sorry, started getting teachery there.”
So it was another day, another lost lottery, when Corby’s AP students presented him with an envelope. A student caught Corby’s reaction on video, which made its way onto Today.com.
“If you watch the full video you will see I didn’t understand what was going on at first. They wrote a beautiful card and put two drawn up tickets to Hamilton inside,” Corby said. “I just thought it was a thank you and a gag with the tickets. It wasn’t until I saw Meg in the back holding the sign did I begin to realize what was going on.”
What was going on was, the more than 30 students, mostly from his two advanced placement classes, pooled their money and coordinated with Corby’s wife to purchase two tickets to Hamilton.
The creator himself, Miranda, saw the clip and tweeted June 11: “Making your teacher cry happy tears is SO many bonus points for The Good Place. Great job Hanna, great job kids. Enjoy, Mr. Corby.”
Corby will be heading up to New York to see the show late July. Someone from the show contacted him June 13 and said he would be getting backstage access as well.
“I told [my students] it says so much about the people they are. Their want to do this, their ability to coordinate this and finally to do something so personal for me…I was floored, honored, humbled by it,” Corby said.