By Ashley Fetters
Updated July 02, 2011 at 02:03 PM EDT

For many, the ticket lottery for Broadway shows is a holy terror. Especially for the smash-hit musical The Book of Mormon, where hundreds of hopeful fans gather outside Manhattan’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre night after night trying to score the 20 or so rush tickets. But on Friday afternoon, devout followers were treated to nothing short of a Broadway miracle.

Friday’s show featured the same catchy songs and irreverent humor that earned The Book of Mormon nine Tony Awards. But this particular performance was unlike any other: 800 lucky — dare we say blessed? — audience members had won their seats through a special ticket lottery designed with the show’s most loyal fans in mind. After watching so many fans turned away, the show’s producers added a special ninth show — a fan performance — to the weekly schedule. Anyone who had entered the ticket lottery anytime between May 10 and June 14 was entered into the fan-performance ticket lottery, which ultimately consisted of more than 13,000 entries. Four hundred names were drawn, and each name was allotted two tickets.

Bradley Beahen, who had tried his luck in the ticket lottery 12 times prior with no success, was among the chosen few. “It was killing me,” he said. “I was like, ‘I need to see this, I need to see this.'” Beahen, 30, found out his name had been drawn in the lottery via e-mail a week and a half before the show. “I screamed,” he said.

Beahen certainly wasn’t the only one feeling the spirit. In fact, the palpable, electric fervor in the congregation — er, audience — was even a talking point backstage. “It was like watching a rock concert,” said Chris Boneau, a spokesman for the show’s production team, after the show. “There were times when the applause went on at least three more times than I would have expected. And the curtain call was one of the wildest I’ve ever seen.”

The reaction, Boneau said, was understandable. “These people worked to get here,” he said. “And this is just the way you want an audience to react.”

Read more:

Book of Mormon

  • Stage