Student Blog: A First-Time Guide To Seeing A Show

Seeing a show for the first time? Look no further!

By: Jun. 30, 2024
Student Blog: A First-Time Guide To Seeing A Show
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Shows are a wonderful form of entertainment. The bright lights, the catchy songs, and the spectacular dancing are a sight to behold. Whether it’s a local production, national tour, or a Broadway spectacle, it’s an experience everyone should have at least once in life. However, there are some things first-time theatergoers should be aware of in order to optimize their experience. Therefore, I have created a comprehensive guide to navigating your first show.

First, it’s very important to get there early. Arriving early allows you to buy merchandise, purchase concessions, and use the restroom with time to spare. If you arrive late, you will be seated at the theater’s discretion, which means you may miss the first few numbers. Personally, I recommend getting there at least 30 minutes early. That way, you can beat the crowd, relax in your seat, and admire the theater’s architecture and beauty.

It’s also important to have proper show etiquette. Always treat the ushers with respect, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions! It’s their job to direct audience members to their seats and provide additional assistance if needed. Be mindful of your behavior so that you don’t ruin the experiences for yourself and others. Musicals are not like concerts, so refrain from singing along, even if the tunes are catchy. Talking and even whispering during the show can be incredibly distracting for others: if it’s not urgent, save it for intermission or after the show. Cleaning up after yourself is a small gesture, but it’s the right thing to do as well. 

If you’re seeing a show on Broadway and want an opportunity to interact with cast members, you can always go to the stage door after the show. There, some performers will come out and may even sign autographs and take photos. It’s not always a guarantee, but it is always worth a try if you’re willing to participate. Be mindful, however, that it may take a while for the performers to come out, so don’t expect them to be there immediately after the show ends. Once again, make sure you're being polite: cast members are also human, after all. I’ve been to the stage door before, and it is a fun experience. You get to praise the cast for a job well done and get your Playbill signed, which makes for an even more valuable souvenir. 

Finally, it may be helpful to research the show you’re seeing beforehand. Listening to the songs and understanding the plot can make your experience more complete. I enjoy listening to the music beforehand so I can focus more on the choreography, lighting choices, and line delivery instead of having to process the lyrics of the songs. I also like to have a basic understanding of the plot so I know what to expect. Of course, I like to keep it spoiler-free, but I enjoy having a basic understanding of the story so I can prepare myself for what’s to come. 

Aside from the etiquette (which I believe is non-negotiable), these are simply suggestions, not requirements, that will make your first show a memorable one for years to come. The guidelines may seem overwhelming, but above all, remember to have fun! Shows are a great form of art and entertainment that leave a lasting impact. I hope you enjoy your first show and cherish it forever!


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