Broadway Frequently Asked Questions
As concierges and NYC experts, we get questions about Broadway all day, every day – and we’re happy to answer them! Here are some of the questions we hear the most often. If we didn’t answer your question, feel free to e-mail us and we’ll get right back to you!
Question: Are my seats good?
Answer: The nice thing about Broadway theaters is that, compared to a lot of performing arts venues, they are pretty small. Broadway theaters range between 500 and 1800 seats. So for the most part, you’ll have a good view from anywhere you sit. Most theaters designate the first 20 rows of the center orchestra and the first 3-5 rows of the center front mezzanine as “premium seats” and these tickets will cost quite a bit more. If it’s a very special occasion it’s certainly worth considering these seats, but you’ll be able to see just fine from most locations! The major disadvantage to rear mezzanine or balcony seating is that you will may not be able to see the facial expressions of the actors. If this isn't an important factor to you, you can save quite a bit of money by sitting at the back of the theater, and you'll get some of the best views of the set and the production numbers.
Question: What is the difference between Broadway and Off Broadway?
Answer: The number of seats in a theater determines whether it is considered Broadway or Off Broadway. Off Broadway theaters have 100-499 seats, while Broadway theaters have over 500. Off Broadway shows are generally considerably less expensive, so don’t be afraid to consider them as an alternative to Broadway if you are on a budget! The quality is often the same or better, and some of Broadways most recent big hits started out Off Broadway (Tony-winning Once and Peter & the Starcatcher, for example)
Question: What should I wear to a Broadway show?
Answer: There is no dress code for Broadway shows. Some people like to dress up and make a night of it, and some people will go in jeans. While we highly encourage you to dress up – Broadway is a special treat, after all – you will be admitted to your show as long as you have a ticket. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that like movie theaters, Broadway shows can be very highly air conditioned in the summer, so bring a sweater.
Question: Are you allowed to eat and drink in the theater?
Answer: This has actually changed recently. Less than 10 years ago, food and drink were allowed only in the lobby area and not to the seats. Now you can bring snacks and beverages purchased from the theater concession stands to your seat with you. That being said, remember that Broadway theaters do not have surround sound like movie theaters, and it’s best to do your snacking during the intermission when you won’t disturb your neighbors.
Question: What time should I arrive at the theater?
Answer: Generally you don’t want to arrive any more than 30 minutes prior to the curtain or any less than 10 minutes prior. The house won’t open until 30 minutes before, and there is no need to line up prior to that as your seat is assigned! If you are picking up tickets at the box office, want to get a cocktail, or need to use the restroom before showtime, about 20-25 minutes prior to curtain is advisable. Otherwise, 10-15 minutes should be fine.
Question: Should I bring my child to a Broadway show?
Answer: Certain shows (Aladdin, The Lion King, Matilda) are tailor-made for kids. Many other shows are not, but of course it is all up to the parents’ discretion. A good rule of thumb is that if your child can sit through a movie without talking or getting bored, they will likely make it through a Broadway show. If you have questions about the content of a show you are thinking of taking your family to, don’t hesitate to ask us! However, no children under 4 should be brought to a Broadway theater, and most theaters will not allow this.
Question: What show should I see?
Answer: There is no show that everyone loves. Even within the New York Guest office, we have frequent disagreements about which shows are great and which shows are not worth the price of admission. To help you decide, we've crafted our "What show should I see?" Flow chart, which you can see in all its glory by clicking here. Please note, this chart is not a guarantee that you will like the show!