13 Golden Rules for Attending Broadway Shows – From the Pros

Posted on Aug 5, 2015

During the past several months, a series of situations has caused the industry to reach out with suggested acceptable behavior when attending a theatrical production.

The Broadway Theatre League wants you to have a wonderful theatrical experience so following their tips will allow everyone to have the best Broadway experience possible.

Please review their friendly etiquette refresher course and as you read on, remember part of one’s pact as an audience member is to take seriously the pleasure of others, a responsibility fulfilled by quietly attentive (or silently inattentive) and self-contained behavior. After all, you can be as demonstrative as you want during bows and curtain calls.

House Rules & Theatre Etiquette

  1. Go easy with the perfume and cologne, many people are highly allergic.
  2. If you bring a child, make sure etiquette is part of the experience. Children love learning new things. Each child, regardless of age, must have a ticket and sit in their seat during performances. Children who sit in another person’s lap block the view of the person behind you.  Children should not be allowed to run around during the show.
  3. Please enjoy your snacks and drinks in the lobby and not inside the theatre.
  4. Please silence or turn off all electronic devices, including cell phones, beepers, and watch alarms.  Please refrain from texting during performances, the glow from your device is distracting.
  5. The overture is part of the performance.  Please cease talking at this point.
  6. The sound system for each show is provided by the touring production. Unfortunately, many variables exist that may occasionally hinder sound quality.  Technical staff works very hard to provide the best possible sound for each performance.
  7. Dear Lovebirds, when you lean your heads together, you block the view of the people behind you. 
  8. Please refrain from talking, humming, or singing along with the show, except when appropriate.
  9. Please wait for an appropriate moment to dig something out of your pocket or bag.
  10. Arrive early so you don’t cross over others after the show has started.  If you are late, you may be reseated until an appropriate time for you to get to your assigned seat.
  11. If you need assistance during the show, please go to your nearest volunteer usher. If additional assistance is needed the usher will get the appropriate person to further help you.
  12. Just be courteous and everyone will enjoy the show.
  13. Unless otherwise directed please sit in your assigned seat.

Children and the Theatre:

Here are some general guidelines that should be mentioned prior to attending a live performance to prepare your child to present the proper behavior everyone will be expecting from him or her.

  • They will be expected to be quiet, sit still in their own chair and not disturb others around them by talking or fidgeting. You are welcome to bring a booster seat to help them see the show.
  • They will need to keep their feet on the floor, not on the seats around them.
  • They should not kick the chair in front of them or stand during the performance.
  • They should not leave the theatre except during intermission.
  • They cannot eat, drink or chew gum in the theatre.
  • They should use the restroom before the performance or during intermission.

They may applaud when appropriate.

Also mention to your children that the theatre will be dark at times and sudden bursts of sounds may happen.

If your child becomes restless, frightened or very loud, please take them to the lobby. You may always ask an usher to reseat you towards the back of the theatre/balcony. It’s unfortunate to mention, but children (and sometimes parents) behaving poorly will be asked to leave without a refund.

We are all here to enjoy the show so let’s do our best to make each show enjoyable for all!  Want to learn more about a specific show, Kitt’s Pick’s Theatre Reviews will help you decide which option is the best fit for your personal preferences. Click on the playbill for a description of the story and who is the recommended audience.  Contact a Discover New York and Beyond Destination Specialist for help to create a wonderful theatre experience.


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