Watching a show on Broadway can be an exhilarating experience, but it does come with its own unwritten set of rules. Following these simple etiquette tips will make your visit pleasant and stress-free.
Watch the Show
It's amazing how many theatregoers seem to forget that they're there to watch the performance. The first rule of Broadway etiquette is to pay attention to the show. Refrain from any disruptive behaviors such as:
- Talking on a cell phone or to your neighbors
- Unwrapping cough drops or candies
- Singing along with the actors
What to Wear
Technically, there's no set dress code when visiting Broadway. Wear what makes you comfortable, but err on the side of modesty when possible. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind:
- Broadway audiences are more likely to dress up for opening and closing performances
- Because most Broadway theatres are heavily air-conditioned, you may want to bring a sweater or a jacket
- Don't forget to shower and wear deodorant, as you'll be in close quarters with a bunch of strangers
Your Personal Space
When you buy Broadway tickets, it's important to realize that no matter how expensive they are, you won't have much personal space. Although the conditions might not be the most comfortable, don't feel too awkward about bumping elbows with the person next to you. However, to increase everyone's comfort, remember not to:
- Hog the armrests
- Kick or put your feet up on the chair of the person sitting in front of you
- Hang your coat behind your chair, as this encroaches on the space of the person sitting behind you
Using the Restroom
Going to the restroom in the middle of a show is a pain, so always remember to use the restroom before the performance or during intermission. If you must get up, be respectful of those around you, and try not to jostle anyone too much on your way in and out of the theatre.
If You're Hungry
Although most Broadway theatres sell snacks and drinks at intermission, not all of them allow audience members to bring food into the auditorium. Going to a Broadway show isn't the same as going to the movies, so remember to respect each theatre's rules about food and drink. If you are allowed to bring refreshments in with you, follow these guidelines:
- Don't bring anything crunchy, sticky, or messy
- Eat lunch or dinner before or after the show, not in the middle of it
- If you do make a mess, either clean it up after the performance or get an usher to assist you
Although each of these etiquette rules is important, don't get so hung up on them that they dampen your enjoyment of the performance. If someone around you is engaging in disruptive behavior, quietly ask him or her to stop. Then, get back to enjoying the show!