Broadway Etiquette by Ari KellenIf you’re into theater, then New York may very well be the best place to be.  Whether it’s a play, an award-winning musical or an off-Broadway satire, whether the cast members are well-known stars or total novices, you can find it in New York.  If you aren’t a regular theater-goer, it’s never too late to start, so that’s why it’s important to know Broadway theater etiquette.  Here are some tips for theater etiquette, based off an article that I found on the blog “Tracy’s New York Life”:

Dress like you’re going to the theater: There might not be an official dress code for Broadway, but out of respect try to not dress like you’re going to the gym.  You don’t necessarily need a tux and evening gown, but shorts and sneakers are just tacky.  Women should be stay away from sweats, flip flops, athletic tanks and anything you’d consider “indecent”.  It’s also important to remember that the temperature in theaters tends to get cold.

Arrive on time: Nobody likes that person who goes to a show 20 minutes late.  You want to get to the theater in enough time to find your seat before the curtain rises.  Latecomers disrupt the show.  Most Broadway theater doors open 30 minutes before curtain time.

Use the bathroom before the show starts: Take care of the bathroom before the show starts.  First acts can run up to 90 minutes, and some shows don’t even have any intermission.  And nobody likes the person who climbs over an entire row of theater-goers to get to the bathroom.  If you have to use the bathroom, try and do it during a scene change to not disrupt too many people.

Don’t wear too much perfume or colognes: Theater seats are packed together tight, and there’s no masking body odor; if you can smell yourself, so can everybody else.  Come to the show clean and wear your fragrance light.

Turn off your ringer: This should go without saying, but there’s always that person whose phone rings during a performance.  Checking text messages, email or social media during a scene is pretty bad too.  If you’re waiting for something particularly important, most shows have intermissions where you’ll have 15 minutes to check messages.  

Don’t eat during a show: Loudly munching during a performance is just as distracting as talking or a ringing cell phone.  Candy wrappers are notoriously loud, which is why many theaters ask you to put them away before the show.

Don’t talk: This should be a given, but you’d be surprised.  If you absolutely have to say something, whisper between scenes.

Don’t take photos: Photo and video recordings aren’t allowed during performances, otherwise an usher will come over and reprimand you, maybe even kick you out, which will disrupt everybody.  It’s also fairly embarrassing.

Avoid PDAs: If you’re on a date, save time after the show for PDAs; it will distract the people behind you.

Applaud: It’s totally fine if you end up not liking a show, but out of respect applaud the actors, crew and musicians.  Most shows end with standing ovations, and if you liked the show, feel free to join the audience!