Dos and Don'ts for Seeing a Broadway Show

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A lot of people love going to the theatre, but they’re unsure about what the rules are. What do you wear to a Broadway show? Do they have snacks? Can I do a jig during intermission? I put together a short list of do’s and don’ts when attending a performance on the Great White Way.

  • DO wear whatever you feel comfortable in. It can be fun to dress up for the theatre, as the custom used to be, but there is no official dress code in any of the Broadway theaters.
  • DON’T wear a giant hat. That’s just mean to the three rows of people behind you.
  • DO shower before going to the theater. People will be sitting next to you for upwards of two hours, and they don’t want to have to smell you, too.
  • DON’T wear an excessive amount of perfume/cologne. See above.
  • DO feel free to buy snacks and show merchandise before the show or during intermission.
  • DON’T wait until the show has started to open the candy bar/bag of chips/[insert other item with an annoyingly loud wrapper here]. Not cool.
  • DO enjoy the company of those around you, exclaim over the gorgeous theater, and comment on how poorly you did on this month’s Playbill quiz.
  • DON’T do the above while the house lights are dimmed, there are actors onstage, and/or the orchestra is playing. Just because there is currently no dialogue onstage does not mean that people are in dire need of a dialogue offstage.
  • DO arrive 15 minutes before the show, or 30 if you need to pick up tickets at the box office. There is nothing more annoying than having an entire row of people stand up to let you in once the show has already started.
  • DON’T leave before the bows are done. That’s a giant slap in the face to the people who have been entertaining you for the last two hours.
  • DO use the bathroom before you sit down for the show. See previous “DO.”
  • Whatever you do, DON’T sing along, even if you know the words. People paid to hear Liza Minelli, not Randy Bentwick from Gary, Indiana.

Now you're ready to go out and enjoy the theatre! Did I forget anything? Tell me your biggest theatre pet peeves in the comments!


Comments (3) -

Emma P
Emma P said...

People who talk in the theatre annoy me but getting kicked in the back of my seat is the worst.

May 9, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Cristabel said...

How about big hair? It's sort of the same thing as wearing a huge hat.

Sometimes I wish venues prioritized seating by height too (as silly as that sounds). It's pretty annoying when you're 5'4 and some 6' tall dude sits in front of you at a show.

May 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Sharon said...

Absolutely HATE it when people are constantly texting or checking for cell phone messages! Although the ringer might be turned off, the light emitting from the phone is very annoying and distracting.  Phones should be turned off and LEFT off completely during the entire show!

March 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM