Times Square to Town Square: The Logistics of Broadway Alaska
Crews focus lights in the catwalk above the Atwood Concert Hall in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.
The Broadway musical Hamilton tells the story of a young, scrappy, and hungry founding father of a young, scrappy, and hungry republic. The story of how the hip-hop hagiography traveled to Anchorage for a four-week run is worthy of song, as well.
The touring production of Hamilton arrived in Anchorage to open its run on August 17, and the show plays through September 10 at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (PAC). It’s the first of four shows in the Broadway Alaska series presented by the PAC in partnership with tour producer The Nederlander Organization.
As transportation sponsor for the season, TOTE Maritime Alaska is a key part of getting freight for Hamilton to Alaska. Four advance trailers, seven set trailers, and three show-to-show trailers converged in Anchorage from three different locations: New Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Nebraska.
The first truck arrived at the PAC loading dock on August 14, the Monday before the show’s Wednesday opening. Other cargo had moved north on a TOTE vessel from Tacoma, Washington, at the end of July and was temporarily stored at the Port of Alaska.
“We’ve been shipping to communities throughout Alaska since 1975 and have a long history of supporting organizations that make Alaska a great place to live. We are honored to be part of setting the stage for Hamilton and a successful Broadway Alaska season,” says Art Dahlin, vice president and Alaska general manager for TOTE Maritime Alaska.
Stagehands organized by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 918 helped load the touring equipment into the Atwood Concert Hall. A typical large show at the PAC might need a couple dozen IATSE stagehands to rig scenery, lights, and sound, the Broadway Alaska series requires the union to muster more than double that number.
“It is truly a logistics accomplishment that has seen the production move across the country via multiple modes of transportation from truck, air and finally by sea,” says PAC President and COO Codie Costello. “TOTE’s generosity with shipping Hamilton to Alaska will have a critical impact on our entire season of Broadway shows and beyond.”
Stock light fixtures in the Atwood Concert Hall are supplemented by the touring show’s custom equipment.
Hamilton, sponsored by ConocoPhillips Alaska, will be followed by three more shows. Next up, from November 29 through December 10, is Come From Away, a musical about airline passengers stranded in a small town in Newfoundland on September 11, 2001. Six: The Musical, about the wives of King Henry VIII of England, performs February 14-25, 2024. And from April 10-21, 2024, the stage adaptation of the animated musical Disney’s Aladdin comes to the PAC.
“I want to say thank you from everyone at Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and Broadway Alaska,” Costello says, going on to quote Hamilton’s lyrics. “We are proud to be in the room where it happens with TOTE Maritime Alaska by our side.”
The inaugural Broadway Alaska season is also sponsored by Alaska Airlines and GCI.