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Broadway Theater Etiquette Do's and Don'ts

Category Broadway

|by Marshall W. Mabry IV |


Top tips for a perfect night out at the theater

Whether you’re rocking out to the eclectic score of SpongeBob Squarepants, The Broadway Musical, experiencing the nostalgia of a classic like My Fair Lady or laughing it up at a sophisticated comedy like Travesties, there are certain things one simply must, and must not, do when attending a Broadway show.

Make the most of your Broadway experience with these helpful hints (Photo: iStock)

Make the most of your Broadway experience with these helpful hints (Photo: iStock)

Theater Do’s and Don’ts

Do: Bring a light sweater
It’s always cooler in theaters for the benefit of the actors and the size of the audience. The stage lights get hot, and it would be a rough night of theater if the performers were subjected to the full temperature of them. Comfort is key to enjoying a show, so bring a light sweater or buy a show-themed sweatshirt at the merchandise stand.

Do: Open your candy before the show starts
One of the biggest pet peeves of actors and audience members alike is hearing the crackle of candy wrappers throughout the show – or the sound of goodies falling to the floor. If you’re seeing a play, make sure to unwrap your candy before the show or simply wait until intermission. If you’re attending a louder musical and find yourself hungry mid-show, wait for an up-tempo scene to open bags of sugary delights.

Do: Buy merchandise for the memories (and to support the arts)
Broadway shows are a dazzling experience – but once you walk out the door, you’ll find that it’s easy to forget the details. Having a memento will help you recall your favorite moments. Sliding on that hoodie or hat brings back the show memories, again and again.

Don’t: Leave your cell phone on
These days, everyone is viewing life experiences through their camera phones. But, the theater offers an escape from reality – and all things digital. When you arrive at your seat, turn off your phone (or turn it to airplane mode) and then tuck it out of sight. Glowing screens are a major distraction not only to fellow audience members and the actors – but to you.

Don’t: Bring your daily stress in with you
Upon entering the theater, you’re putting yourself in the hands of a creative team.  For the next three-plus hours, you may be swept off your feet, or fly to Neverland.  You may be taken through a winter wonderland or visit a world beyond a rainbow. The best way to immerse yourself fully is to put your current life on pause – and leave the worries of the day at the door. While Broadway shows take place generally eight times a week, no two shows are the same.  Take the time to enjoy this living art form, guided by master storytellers.

Bonus tip: Research the show before you go
The biggest favor you can do for yourself is to research the show you’re going to see. If you’re sensitive to lights and sounds, know which shows are heavy on special effects. If you don’t like contemporary musicals, check which classics are playing on Broadway right now. The perfect place to search for shows, times and genres at any time is on ShowTickets.

For inspiration for your next night out at the theater, check out our Top Shows in June.

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