Live theater can be one of the most thrilling and enriching experiences in a person's life. I cannot begin to describe all the inspiration, motivation, and stories that I have derived from the countless theatrical experiences I have had. However, all experiences weren't exactly great ones.
The theater is an inclusive place where all are welcome, but sometimes a show can draw a crowd that doesn't exactly know the Do's and Don'ts of theater etiquette.
1. Dress AccordinglyGiphy
Would you ever pay over $300 to go somewhere and wear a T-shirt or sweatpants? You should probably find something nice to throw on. Bumming it is for comfortably watching TV at home, not for watching professionals perform.
2. NO. CELL. PHONES.
Need to text your boyfriend or girlfriend back? Wait until intermission. You will get bombarded by ushers pointing small flashlights at you reminding you to get off your phone. Sometimes actors go so far as breaking character and disrupt the scene to tell you to get off your phone. (We're looking at you, Kanye.)
3. Pictures are for Playbills, not for the middle of the show
Credit: Joe Wojtkowski
You spent a buck or two and want to photograph the moment you're enjoying with your friends or family, understood. Snap a picture of your Playbill held up over in front of the stage, maybe a selfie with your friends and call it a day. Don't bring your phone out to take pictures of actors mid-scene, or even record a dance number. Their movement is astonishing and their costumes are lovely, but the picture should be engraved into your mind, not your phone.
(To the moms I saw trying to film "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical," this one's for you.)
4. Sick on the day of the show? Exchange your ticketsGiphy
Nothing annoys audience members more than listening to your coughing fit while they are trying to enjoy the show. What is even more mind-boggling is when people choose to have coughing fits at probably THE most dramatic point of the show.
Andrew Garfield was mid-monologue in "Angels in America," sobbing through his character who was dying of AIDS in the '80s, maybe this isn't the best time for you to start coughing. Especially when just about the whole audience is in tears.
5. Tired? Grab a coffee before the show.
Seeing a show can be quite the commitment, ranging from a time length of 90 minutes to up to four hours. If you feel like you won't be able to stay awake for the whole thing, maybe grab a coffee or a 5 Hour Energy beforehand, snoring in the middle of the show is distracting, disturbing, and rude to the entire audience.
At a preview performance of "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel," a man at intermission told me he had driven five hours from Boston, Massachusetts and paid $600 to see this show. He was snoring through the entire first act.
6. Be kind to one another.Giphy
In a world with so much turmoil and hate, we need to remember to treat each other with kindness. The theater is a place that celebrates love and acceptance, a place where you leave your troubles outside and focus on the art that is unfolding in front of you.
If someone is sleeping, nicely ask someone in their party to please wake them up.
If someone is on their phone, politely ask them to get off and it is distracting.
If someone is being loud, kindly tell them to please stop talking.
We're all here for the same purpose, to experience and appreciate artwork and hopefully learn something new, so let's be kind to one another as we go through these experiences together.
There are a ton of wonderful shows out there that would make your winter break one to remember.
Need some girl power? The Lincoln Center revival of "My Fair Lady" is perfect for you to feel empowered by the end of the show. Not only is it a night full of lush vocals and stunning visuals, but the story of "My Fair Lady" is as relevant as ever in the #MeToo era. Eliza Doolittle's story of realizing her worth and overcoming the men who belittled her is one that will never fade.
If you're looking for a night that will have you laughing in the aisles, the musical adaptation of everyone's favorite movie "Mean Girls" will do just the thing. From the unreal vocals of Regina George to the ever so hilarious movie lines, this show would be perfect for your night out.
Or if you want more of a concert vibe, maybe grab tickets to "The CHER Show" or "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical," either way, your night will be thrilling from the moment the curtain rises until the moment it falls.