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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Seats for a Broadway Show

Category Broadway

|by Mikey Miller |

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Seats for a Broadway Show

When you go to see a Broadway show, what are the best seats in a theater? What is orchestra seating, and how does the experience of sitting there differ from sitting in the front mezzanine? Are balcony seats good choices, in terms of both view and value? Of course, these answers vary depending on whom you ask. To help you out, though, we’ve put together a list of some important factors to consider when it comes to choosing your seat in a Broadway theater, with the goal of answering some questions you and your theatre-going buddies may find yourself asking.

Pick the best seats to your Broadway show with our ultimate seating selection guide (Photo: iStock)

Pick the best seats to your Broadway show with our ultimate seating selection guide (Photo: iStock)

Are orchestra seats worth it?
Orchestra seats
are located in the lowest level of the theater, the same level as the stage, though, of course, the stage is raised so that it is accessible for everybody to see. If you want to be up close and personal, here’s your place to be. Be warned, though, if you sit in the last few rows of the orchestra, it is very likely that you will be under the mezzanine, and you may, in some instances, not be able to see action that happens high above the stage level.

Loge vs. Mezzanine
A loge, more commonly referred to as a box, is a private seating area located on the sides of the mezzanine, above the left and right sides of the front orchestra. These seats are often partial view due to their unique location, and other than the fact that you may feel fancy having your own box, the only other benefit to having a box seat is that you have some more room to yourself because you are sitting in normal chairs as opposed to the regular theater seats.

The mezzanine is the second level of the theater, just above the orchestra. The front mezzanine is generally an excellent place to sit. Since you are higher than the stage level, it is easy to get a full view of everything happening onstage at once, especially for larger musicals, where you can appreciate the whole picture of any intricate choreography.

Will I be able to see well from balcony or partial view seats?
The balcony is the third and highest level of the theater, above the mezzanine. Generally, balcony seats are referred to as the “nosebleeds” because they are cheaper, and it is much more difficult to see the action happening onstage than in the orchestra or the mezzanine. If you are desperately in need of new glasses or don’t want to potentially be within arm’s length of the ceiling, the balcony is not the place for you.

If your seat (in any section of the theater) is marked as partial view, it means that due to the architectural designs of the theater, there is a chance that you will be unable to see some of the onstage action. However, that is not always the case, and usually, you’re not missing too much visually.

What does “standing room only” mean?
Standing room only
tickets, more commonly known by their acronym, SRO, can be bought at the theater on the day of the performance, if you want a more inexpensive experience that actually doesn’t involve sitting. SRO “seats” are behind the last row of the orchestra, and if you want to go this route, you should make sure that you are physically able to stand for the duration of the show. (And not all Broadway shows offer SRO tickets.) See our guide to getting last-minute discount Broadway tickets, if this is your jam!

What are the best seats in a theater?
The “best” seat in any given theater is ultimately up to you to decide, and is subjective and personal to every patron in their unique theater-going situation. It depends on several factors, including the show you’re seeing, how close you want to be to the action, and the people with whom you’re attending. This also depends on factors that you can’t control, like who the people around you ultimately end up being, since theater is a shared live experience. If you are going to a Broadway show with a young child (though you should never bring a child who can’t sit for two and a half hours with you), you probably want to sit in one of the higher levels so that it is easy for them to see, even if the theater does offer booster seats. If you don’t like the idea of actors coming close or if there might be a chance that you’re in a spit, sweat, or fake blood splash zone (depending on the show, of course), the first few rows of the orchestra might not be for you. And you should absolutely consider what it would mean to sit on (or close to) an aisle or in the center of a section – do you want the easy access out of your seat, or are you alright with being surrounded by people on all sides?

No matter where you sit, though, seeing a Broadway show and engaging with live theater is an incredibly magical experience for people of all ages. Just remember – no matter where you sit, turn off that cell phone!

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