First-Time Broadway Goers: Etiquette & Tips for Choosing the Perfect Show

Our family loves visiting New York City and we try to visit at least once a year and see some of the latest Broadway shows. Many families visiting NYC with kids for the first time will most likely have some first-time Broadway goers, so I wanted to share some tips for attending a Broadway show for your first time. These tips can be helpful for first-time adults as well! 

Learn some basic Broadway etiquette

Attending a Broadway show is an exciting and enjoyable experience, and being aware of the proper etiquette can enhance the experience for both you and your fellow audience members. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

Dos of Broadway:

  1. Arrive on time: Broadway shows start promptly, and it’s essential to be in your seat before the performance begins. Latecomers can be disruptive to the performers and other audience members.
  2. Silence your phone: Before entering the theater, make sure your mobile phone is on silent mode or turned off. Avoid using it during the performance, as even the dimmed screen can be distracting.
  3. Dress appropriately: There’s no official dress code for Broadway shows, but it’s generally a good idea to dress neatly and comfortably. Some people like to dress up a bit for the occasion, but it’s not required.
  4. Applaud appropriately: Applaud at appropriate times, such as when the performers take the stage, after musical numbers, and at the end of the show. You can also show your appreciation with a standing ovation if you feel the performance deserves it.
  5. Be respectful of others: Be mindful of your fellow audience members. Avoid talking, whispering, or making excessive noise during the performance. Remember that everyone is there to enjoy the show.
  6. Use theater-approved refreshments: If you want to have a snack or a drink during the show, check if the theater allows it. Many theaters have concession stands where you can purchase approved refreshments.
  7. Take care of personal needs before the show: Use the restroom and take care of any other personal needs before the show starts to minimize disruptions during the performance.

Best-Broadway-Shows-in-New-York-City-with-Kids-Hadestown-

Don’ts:

  1. No photography or recording: It’s strictly prohibited to take photos, record audio, or video during a Broadway show. This can be distracting to both the performers and other audience members and is a copyright violation.
  2. Avoid talking during the performance: Talking during the show can disturb those around you and take away from the overall experience. Save your comments for intermission or after the performance.
  3. Don’t put your feet up or obstruct others: Keep your feet on the floor and avoid propping them up on the seat in front of you. Also, be mindful of tall hats or large objects that could obstruct the view of those sitting behind you.
  4. Refrain from rustling programs or wrappers: Try to open your programs or candy wrappers quietly to avoid disturbing those around you.
  5. Don’t sing along or recite lines: While it’s great to be engaged, singing along or reciting lines out loud can be disruptive to both the performers and other audience members.
  6. Don’t leave early unless necessary: Leaving before the show concludes can disrupt the performance for others. If you must leave, try to wait for an appropriate moment, such as during applause at the end of a scene. 

Pick the Broadway Show that’s right for you

With countless shows to choose from, finding the perfect one can be a tad overwhelming. But fear not—in this blog, we’ll provide you with valuable tips and guidance to help you make an informed decision and ensure an unforgettable outing. From considering your preferences to exploring the diverse genres and themes Broadway provides, we’ve got a plan for you.

When selecting a Broadway show, start by exploring your own interests and your kids’ interests

Are you a fan of musicals, or are plays more your cup of tea? Do you enjoy classic, well-known shows, or do you prefer contemporary stories? What about the mood—a heart-wrenching drama, an eerie horror, or a light comedy?

By understanding your preferences, you can narrow down your options and focus on shows that align with your tastes. If you’re a fan of romance and timeless music, musicals like Hadestown or Moulin Rouge might be the perfect choice. If you’re more inclined towards thought-provoking dramas, consider critically acclaimed productions like Sweeney Todd. Broadway is replete with shows of diverse genres, subject matters, and approaches to staging. And don’t forget, while looking for tickets online, you can apply filters across various categories to be more precise with your searches.

Take the time to research the productions currently running on Broadway in 2023

Read reviews, watch trailers, and listen to cast recordings to get a sense of the themes, styles, and overall atmosphere of each show. This will help you gauge whether a particular production resonates with you and sparks your curiosity. So, if you’re intrigued by historical figures and political intrigue, Here Lies Love or Hamilton could be excellent choices. If you’re a fan of unconventional storytelling and immersive experiences, show like Shucked might pique your interest.

Seeking recommendations is a great step to take while collecting information about a show to see. Reach out to friends, family, or online communities for recommendations. Ask about their favorite Broadway experiences and gather insights from seasoned theatre-goers. Personal recommendations can often lead you to hidden gems and surprise hits that might not have been on your radar.

Broadway productions often boast stellar casts and creative teams

If you have favorite actors or directors, check if they’re involved in any shows. Their expertise and talent can significantly enhance your theatre experience and add an extra layer of excitement to your first Broadway outing. If you admire the directorial genius of Julie Taymor, who won two TonysⓇ – for direction and costume design – The Lion King would fit excellently. Or & Juliet boasts a score filled with famous pop tracks from under the quill of none other than Max Martin.

Shows like A Beautiful Noise and MJ shed light on the lives and careers of iconic rock and pop musicians Neil Diamond and Michael Jackson, respectively. These are another type of show that may interest you with its connection to legendary artists and tribute to their extensive work.
Paying attention to the cast, creative team, or famous artist a show draws inspiration from can elevate your theatre experience to new heights. Knowing that you share the same values or interests with the artists who worked on a particular piece adds a dimension to your experience leading to a more meaningful viewing.

Embrace Variety!

Broadway offers a diverse range of genres and themes, catering to different tastes and preferences. Don’t limit yourself to a single type of show. Embrace the variety and consider exploring different genres to expand your theatrical horizons. Sometimes knowing exactly what you want but choosing to go another direction is the exact refreshing leap you need to take.

Whether it’s a classic musical like Chicago, a thought-provoking yet hilarious piece like Kimberly Akimbo, or an innovative performance like Back to the Future, each genre offers its unique features. If you’re in the mood for a visually stunning and family-friendly spectacle, Wicked or Aladdin can transport you to magical worlds. On the other hand, if you’re seeking an emotionally stimulating experience, productions like Hadestown will leave you pondering long after the final curtain call. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and discover something new.

As a first-time Broadway guest in 2023, choosing the perfect show can be both exciting and overwhelming. By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to selecting a show that resonates with you and those accompanying you on the trip. Remember, Broadway is a world of limitless possibilities, so embrace the adventure and prepare to be surprised and your love for the magic of live theatre to be ignited.

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