The horror of standing ovations on Broadway. It's getting awful.

Wynbish Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Is mine the only mind that goes to a dirty place when I hear, "standing O"?
kadu335 Profile Photo
Featured Actor
I've always loved stage musicals but only after I graduated (and started working) that I began saving money to go to NYC by myself. I appreciate the opportunity so much that silly stuff like this doesn't really bother me at all. Off course, there were plenty of shows that I wouldn't give a standing ovation if it was all up to me, but in the end of the day I'm so glad to be there that I don't really mind having this "obligation" (when it happens) haha
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
But I will stick to my guns, I was told a standing ovation is for excellence and that's when I'll wholeheartedly give one.

Mama, I hope it was clear I wasn't asking you to change.
dramamama611 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Loud and clear, Gaveston -- nothing to worry about here!

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
TheatreFan4 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I don't do it because I feel they absolutely deserve one, but because of the damn ripple effect. People in front of you stand and then you can't see s**t making you stand up and the cycle continues.
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Deena Jones
Broadway Legend
Yes, thank you Galveston... It was Miriam Margolyes!!!! Her stint on the graham Norton Show was hysterical!
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
"What annoys me more? Audiences who clap along to the music played as the performers take their bows so there is no level of distinction between each artist. "

Oh dear, that's usually precisely what I do. Or at least I clap to a general rhythm when the bows start, and for a performer I particularly liked I clap faster and a bit harder. *shrug*
Borstalboy Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
At Broadway prices, people have to leave feeling that they've sat through something worthwhile, even if it wasn't. Perhaps the standing ovation is for themselves.

"Well, it was only okay...but everyone learned their lines and knew their blocking and was committed to this we might as well stand and applaud their and our commitment to the EXPERIENCE, which cost me some high bucks...well, that's New York!"

It can, I acknowledge, be an ambivalent experience when you are "feh" on a show, but admiring a performer's gusto and skill. I recently had this experience with BAM's less-than-invigorating THE TROJAN WOMEN (AFTER EURIPIDES). Ellen Lauren poured her guts and power into a challenging role and soared, but the rest of the cast was weak and the production's ideas puny, in my opinion. The cast came out to bow and I remained seated. Then she came out to do an a sola bow and I stood. Sucker! She threw her arms out and the whole cast gathered around her for "her" final bow. Generous, yes, but let the audience give high credit where high credit is due.

It sounds to me like the audiences of SCANDALOUS and CHAPLIN were standing prematurely for their respective stars who, by all reports, were working their asses off. Also, is this strictly a musical phenomenon, do you think?

Generally I find the immediate standing ovation less of an issue off- and off-off Broadway.
"It's now rather very common to hear people say 'I'm rather offended by that'. As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. It has no meaning, no purpose. It has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that'. Well, so f**king what?"--Stephen Fry
LimelightMike Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I don't believe in standing. For every show.

I saw GIANT a week or so ago, front row, dead center. Was the ONLY one -- that I could see in the general vicinity standing at the curtain call. Once those lights went out, I felt the spirit in me, so I stood up and gave it my all. Truly enraptured by the whole thing. Haven't done that in a long, long time.
LimelightMike's 2010-2011 Theatergoing Schedule: THE PITMEN PAINTERS (10.03.10) A LIFE IN THE THEATRE (10.10.10) BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON (10.16.10) THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS (11.06.10) WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (11.13.10) BRIEF ENCOUNTER (11.22.10) THE PEE-WEE HERMAN SHOW (11.28.10) LA BETE (12.23.10) A SMALL FIRE (01.13.11) THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON (03.09.11) ARCADIA (03.16.11) BLACK TIE (03.19.11) PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT (03.21.11) THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (03.26.11) BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO (03.30.11) GHETTO KLOWN (03.31.11) HOW TO SUCCEED... (04.07.11) ANYTHING GOES (04.12.11) JERUSALEM (04.20.11) SISTER ACT (04.29.11) iHO: (05.22.11)
SKAcasting1127 Profile Photo
Really? I don't see the problem here. These actors are all working there A@#$ off on stage each night. All of you that have a problem with people standing in appreciation...I would like to see YOU do what they do.
Gosh...don't be so pretentious.
LYLS3637 Profile Photo
Leading Actor
^ Exactly!

It's the equivalent of telling someone your opinion is better than theirs.

PalJoey Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I love Miriam Margolyes. I just saw her one woman show about Dickens's women and she was exquisite--and exquisitely funny.

Did anyone else see it?
darquegk Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
As a performer, I actually feel a sort of glee when audiences start clapping along to the music at curtain call. Audience, orchestra and cast become one in a sort of rapturous moment- the audience never starts clapping along when the music begins, only when the applause becomes so constant that it's not peaking anymore. They simply give in and become part of the show.
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I completely agree darque--I completely don't understand why someone would object to audiences applauding in time to the curtain music...
i think its a show of respect for the performers for their performances and hard work. nothing wrong with that, unless theyre horrible. and thats rare
I know this sounds super weird, but when I'm doing community/school shows, it seems like people do think it's an obligation to give a standing ovation, and I don't like it because then you can't tell if they actually enjoyed it, or are just standing out of obligation! When I'm in an audience, I don't care, I think it's great that people enjooyed themselves! (Yeah, I assume it's obligation when I'm in the show, but out of enjoyment when I'm in the audience. Feel free to judge me:P)
dramamama611 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
1. You aren't JUST applauding (or standing) for the actors, but for the entire production.

2. If you stand for everything, regardless of quality, then what do you do when something IS truly outstanding? Scream like a banshee?

3. I am not obligated to clap or stand or anything else except be respectful while the show is going on.

I really find it hard to believe that some of you are critisizing people for not being sheep. It's this kind of reaction that KEEPS us getting crap like Leap of Faith and Scandalous -- because standing ovation convince people that the SHOW was good, but they just couldn't find the right audience.

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
TheGirlUpstairs Profile Photo
I don't think that you have any obligation to give a standing ovation every time you see a show. But when you start talking about how you "refuse" to stand, or that standing ovations are ruining Broadway, or that people who stand are "sheep," you start to sound pretty pretentious. It's just applause, lighten up!
SNAFU Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
"Is mine the only mind that goes to a dirty place when I hear, "standing O"?"

When I REALLY love a show, I give a leg shaking O! Then rush outside for a cigarette.

Those Blocked: SueStorm. N2N Nate. Good riddence to stupid! Rad-Z, shill begone!
LYLS3637 Profile Photo
Leading Actor
Dramamama, I have to disagree.

1) I interpret curtain calls as being those putting on the show (actors, backstage crew, and the orchestra). The director, composer, lyricist, librettist don't participate. I can understand what you mean, but to me, curtain calls are about the people working/performing at that specific performance.

2) Again, you don't have to stand. You don't have to scream. I've heard and seen people do both. Ovations are a unique thing. The ovation Elena Roger got in Evita was a whole lot quieter than the ovation Idina Menzel got in Wicked (and both audiences were standing).

3) No one is obligated to do anything so I pose the question again: What's wrong with people expressing their enjoyment the way they want?

By the way, I stood after Leap of Faith. Not because it was the best thing I've ever seen (or heard), but because that crew, orchestra, and cast went full throttle for 2.5 hours. AND I enjoy watching that kind of dedication. So I say again, one man's crap is another's good time. So you do your thing and sit during the curtain call of Leap of Faith, and I'll stand. But you're not better than me just because that's what you choose to do.
dramamama611 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
There isn't anything wrong with it. I totally support your choice to decide the way you want to show your appreciation -- but a number of people here make it sound like those of us that CHOOSE not to stand are being selfish and that we should just "do it". THAT'S the part I disagree with.

If you for ANY reason believe that a standing ovation IS justified, by all means I think you should do so regardless of the rest of the theater. But that should go both ways.

I have often been one of the few sitting as well as the one of the few standing (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson comes to mind.)
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
I have to say that I've been to more than a few shows where it seems like the the cast stood up there holding hands for just a smidge longer than they needed to, smiles plastered to their faces, as if they were saying between their teeth, "We can stand up here for as long as it takes for every single person to stand up and applaud."

Standing ovations don't bother me at all. The show is over; people can do whatever they want.

The bigger annoyance to me is the habit of American audiences to applaud at the end of EVERY musical number during the course of the show as if it were a concert. That changes the flow of the show and can take someone "out of the moment" and is way more bothersome.
henrikegerman Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Anyone ever feel enormously moved and impressed by a performance to the degree where the last thing you wanted to do was stand up and "break the spell"? I felt that way at THE PIANO LESSON last week. I sat there blown away, too consumed with thought and emotion about what I had just seen to feel like switching into NY curtain call compulsory time-to-stand-up mode. And I was sitting in front and so there was no one standing in front of me anyway (although most of the audience was on their feet).

Even then, the thought crossed my mind that the cast might have thought I was dissing them by not rising. Just the opposite.
goldenboy Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I think the major problem is that a Standing Ovation on Broadway doesn't mean anything anymore.

I leapt to my feet for Book of Mormon, for Wicked, for the Nathan Lane in the Producers. These meant something. They deserved it.

But having to stand for mediocrity and so so performances? Like that awful Annie Revival? And other pieces of crap? IF they stand for that, stand o's have no meaning. And therein lies the problem.
Phantom of London Profile Photo
Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
Surely when patrons give a standing ovation, it isn't a statement to say that the show is/was brilliant, but rather a recognition of respect for the performances.
Kelly2 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I will say sometimes it can be awkward. When I saw a show recently, I was incredibly moved and impressed and wished to stand up, however I was sitting quite close and no one else was standing. I wanted very badly to be the lone ovation-giver but working in the industry, the idea of drawing that attention to myself and being nearly face-to-face with the cast was discouraging. Very unfortunate, I may have made the wrong call simply out of my own embarrassment.
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell


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