It's that time of year: the time of year when millions of tourists descent upon New York City to celebrate the holidays. While there are an endless amount of sights to see while visiting New York, almost everyone coming to town this holiday season will want to take in a Broadway or Off-Broadway show. Whether they're a theater fan, want to see a big Hollywood star in a show or simply go to the theater to say they've seen a show while in town, this holiday season will inevitably see packed houses all around. However, there's been a certain wave of rude theatergoers that has hindered the experience for others. Before you act like a complete asshole at a Broadway show this holiday season, here are a few etiquette tips to keep in mind for your next theater outing.
1. Stand in Line - and Stay in Your Seat.
Simple things we learned in kindergarten seem to be forgotten when grown adults attend theater. If there is a line outside of the theater, stand at the end of it and wait your turn to enter the theater. Chances are, the show won't start until everyone in the line has entered the theater so there's no need to cut. Once inside, one of the many ushers will helpfully escort you to your seat. That seat is assigned to you. It's the seat that you paid for. If you don't like it, it's not your call to get up and move as the seat you're moving to is probably not vacant. Mainly, what we're trying to say in a nice way is sit where you're supposed to and enjoy the fucking show.
2. Don't Get Up During A Performance.
You are given three ample opportunities to blow your nose, use the bathroom, or tweet Katy Perry before, midway through and after a show. It's very rude to interrupt another person's theatergoing experience by getting up during a performance to use the bathroom or make a phone call. Essentially, when you see a show, you only need to hold your bladder for forty-five minutes to an hour. So pee before you sit down. If you can't hold your bladder for that amount of time, I suggest skipping a show altogether and seeing a doctor instead because you have an incontinence problem that could lead to big health issues.
3. Shut The Fuck Up.
You know that ominous voice that comes over the loud speaker before the show, asking you to silence your phones and be quite? It's not a drill or a joke, he means it. Shut the fuck up while a show is taking place. You are not at the movies (so don't even think of bringing your baby with you) -- the people you are watching a real people who need to concentrate on what they're doing and the people around you may have spent upwards of $250 to see the performance you are at. You should, under no circumstances be talking during the show. Again, if you can't keep quite for two forty-five minute segments you have a severe form of undiagnosed ADD and really need to check that shit. There's also nothing that important that can't wait to be discussed either at intermission or after the show. Nothing at all. So when the man comes over the loud speaker before the next show you see asking you to be quite, he's not kidding. Please, shut the fuck up. Also, if you have something negative to say about the show you've just seen -- as a rule, wait until you're one block away from the theatre to say it. TRUST ME. Those old walls have ears -- everywhere.
4. Get Off Your Phones.
We live in an age where people are attached to their phones and feel the need to photo-document everything from a good dump to a trip to the gynecologists office, but live theatre is no place for the following:
-- Talking on your phone while a show is taking place.
-- Texting, Emailing, Tweeting, Facebooking, Tindering or Instagraming while a show is taking place.
-- Taking photos while a show is taking place.
-- Realling doing anything but sitting and watching the show while it's happening, I honestly can't stress this enough.
No one is holding you at gunpoint to sit through a show. In fact, most people who attend theater like going to see shows (unless you happen to be a theater writer for The Wall Street Journal) so take it all in. It may be a life changing experience. Be present and check your email and messages at intermission. Your world will not come to a screeching halt if you can't text your girlfriend back immediately. Unless your girlfriend is a psychopath, then it might.
5. You're Not the Only Person Attending the Show.
Therefore, be courteous to others. Yes, you've probably paid around $150 to sit in a seat that's a hundred years old, doesn't have leg room and is uncomfortable as hell, but forget about all of that for one moment. There are other people around you as well. So, try not to take up more than one seat. Your coat and shopping bags did not pay for the seat next to you (unless your coat and bags are loaded) so please refrain from throwing your crap all over the place. Don't take the curtain going down as an opportunity to charge your electronics either (seriously, I've seen someone plug their phone into an outlet at the theater before.) Please be gracious to the people around you. We're all in this for at least the next two and a half hours so don't be a dick.
I hope this has cleared a few things up for the new theatergoer who may be attending a Broadway show this holiday season. Don't get me wrong, theatre people are very sweet. They want you coming to their shows and spending your money. Just follow the rules or next holiday season, you'll be telling all of your friends about the time you were in New York and Patti LuPone went ballistic on you while on stage for taking a picture. No one wants to be that guy. Trust me.