Theatre season in New York is in full swing. New shows are opening, revivals are selling out. (I’m desperate to see the well reviewed revivals of Side Show, and On The Town and super curious about Stalking the Bogeyman at New World Stages, bummed I missed Found at Atlantic Theatre Company, and SO looking forward to Wolf Hall this spring.) With the new season comes a new crop of theatre goers who have NO IDEA WHAT THEY’RE DOING.
So I’ve reached back into the archives, updated an old (and very popular post) to help a new crowd of theatre goers not behave in ways that make us veterans (I’m even a Drama Desk Award nominee!) want to KILL them.
1. Brush your teeth. Sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed. Ditto deodorant.
2. Brush your hair. If you’re tall, it’s one thing. No one likes to see Yao Ming scooting his way into the row directly in front of them, but it’s not like there’s a whole lot he can do about being circus-freak tall. But if it’s just your ginormous hairdo, here’s a tip: TONE IT DOWN.
3. This is not your living room. Keep your comments to yourselves. Theatre is LIVE, people. You may not comment on the goings on on stage to the person next to you the way you would were you watching, say, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. (who, by the way may not even be live themselves – just well drawn cartoons.)
4. Don’t sing along. I just saw Beautiful, starring the unbelievably talented Jesse Mueller. I wanted to hear her sing, not the 60 year old out of towner behind me. You want to sing along? Go to a Karaoke bar. This is Broadway.
5. If you must smoke, give yourself at least a few moments to air out before you take your seat. Nothing spoils the illusion of being in the African Jungle, or the royal court like the stench of old cigarette smoke.
Of course if it’s a Mamet play, smoke away.
6. If you sleep, do not snore. I know what you’re thinking : how would I know I‘m snoring if I’m asleep? I don’t care. Snoring is disrespectful to the actors and the people around you. Tie a rubber band around your wrist, and if you feel yourself dozing off, give yourself a good hard snap.
7. If you MUST have a tuberculosis attack the second the lights go out, at least cover your mouth. Why does the coughing begin as the curtain goes up? Passive aggressive anyone?
8. No canoodling. Keep your head on top of your own shoulders, not snuggled up against your date’s. You’ll be blocking someone’s view. And making them sick from the cuteness of it all.
9. You don’t have to stay. Hate a show? Leave. Why pay twice: once with your money and again with your time? If you’re unhappy, leave at intermission. The people around you you’d be annoying with all your sighing and moaning will appreciate it.
10. Finally, a list of the most obvious ones – but clearly, people need to be reminded: no texting, IMing, phoning, browsing the web, filing your nails, flossing your teeth (I saw that once. Disgusting.), eating your sandwich or making out with your girlfriend because this is your seventh weekiversary. Get a room.
Oh, and one more thing — this is New York, it’s the Theatre, not the Theater. And don’t you forget it.