DO dress for the occasion. You don’t have to go formal, although it is accepted for a night performance, but think church clothes. A pretty dress for the ladies, a button down and tie for the gentleman. Jeans are not acceptable for either sex. For a matinee a little more casual is accepted, and of course a school play is definitely a casual event, but still dress nice.
And ladies, leave the jingly jewelry behind.
DO take a bath before going to the theater. Yes, people have to be told this. Theater seating is close and you will be there for 2-3 hours. Make sure you smell good and don’t wear too much fragrance. You don’t want to make people sick or risk allergies to products you might wear.
DO be on time. It is so rude to have to climb over people once the who has begun. Not only is it rude to climb over others, it is so distracting for the actors and actresses on stage. They see the movements and it can be very bothersome!
Live theater does not include 20 minutes of previews that you can slip in during. When the lights dim, the show goes on.
If something has happened that has made you late, please have the courtesy to wait in the back of the theater until the first act has ended. It may not be the most comfortable for you, but I can assure you that it will be appreciated by others attending the show!
DO be prepared. If your tickets are at will-call, be there early to pick them up. Have your tickets handy at all times so that when as usher asks to see them, you have them. If you know you seats are in the center of the aisle, try to seat yourself early so that you aren’t having to step over others to reach them.
DO applaud the musicians as they are introduced before the curtain arises. The audience’s enthusiasm truly sets the tone for the performance. Also applaud the performers after a well-sung number or dance scene. At the end of the show, also show your approval for the performance, but after the stars have taken their final bow, it’s time to go. Multiple encores are exhausting for everyone, especially the performers who are already tired after a long show!
FYI: It is tradition to cheer for musical performers using an Italian cheer “bravo” which means “well done!” Shout “bravo” for a male performer and “brava” for a female. If it is a group of performers, use the term “bravi” and “brave” if the group is all females.
I learned this in a theater class that I took in college, although I can only think of once I have used the term “bravo“.
DON’T talk during the performance. Once again not only is it distracting for the audience, it is distracting for the performers.
DON’T bring food or drink into live theater. Most evening performances don’t begin until 8:00 which does leave plenty of time for you to eat prior to arrival. Besides, the noises of candy wrappers rattling or drinks being turned up are distracting to everyone. It is so easy to miss a line during a live performance, don’t be the cause of several people missing what was said.
DON’T play on your phones, iPads, etc…. You can go an hour and a half without social media, checking email or texting someone. Most all live performances have an intermission, so surly you can wait until then to see who has messaged you.
DON’T use flash photography during a live performance. This really should be self explanatory, but you never know. Besides, with most Broadway based musicals, photography is forbidden period as it is illegal.
DON’T go to sleep. Seriously, how rude is that? If you find a performance boring or not your “cup of tea” leave at intermission. If you are tired, plan ahead to get a nap before attending the show.
If you have never attended a live performance, you are not too old to see one and become hooked! From high school plays (which are a little less formal) to the symphony there are so many options.
Do you like live productions?