Theater Here & There (Paper #4) – By Courtney Kellogg
One of my all time favorite things about going to a big city is seeing the broadway signs posted all over tall buildings. I love walking past these buildings as the broadway lights flash as night. With big cities like, Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles are filled with theaters selling out the finest broadway shows. Some of the most popular musicals and plays can even come to places near you. At Michigan State University, The Wharton Center has provided some of the hottest musicals and plays. Shows like “The Lion King“, “Wicked“, and “Mamma Mia” are just a couple of examples that have came to a place near me that isn’t a big city. The popular musical “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda, will be arriving at The Wharton Center next summer. Tickets for this show are hard to get because of how popular and well-known the musical is!
When going to a broadway show in America, it is important to wear appropriate attire. Semi-formal dress is perfect to wear to a broadway show. For women, some suggestions could be: a nice dress, dress pants and a nice sweater. For men, a suggestion could be: dress pants and a dress shirt with a tie. As long as the attire is semi-formal you should be ready to head to a performance.
Buying tickets in advance is a must as well. For popular shows, like “Hamilton”, it is possible to buy tickets a year in advance to get the “cheapest” price and best seats. I would suggest that buying a ticket a couple months ahead, would work best. Another tip is making sure you are buying your tickets from a reliable website. Go to the theater website, and that should guide you from any scams.
Before you head to your performance, make sure to check your tickets on the date and time. Working at a theater myself, I have seen many people come to the wrong performance date and become upset. Check your tickets the day before and don’t forget to bring them to the performance! When it comes to arriving at the show, make sure that you get to the theater 30 minutes before the show starts. This gives you time to go to the restroom as well as grab a snack or drink before you sit down. Most places that I have been to will only allow you to bring in bottled water, so make sure you finish any other drinks outside the theater. Make sure to grab a free playbill from an usher and head to your correct seats. There are some people who fail to sit in their correct seats and make problems for others before the show. Don’t be that type of person! If you’re not sure where you are seated, ask an usher and they will be more than happy to show you the way. The less conflict, the better time you will have.
During the show, make sure to be respectful. Clap after a song finishes but do not shout or whistle. Make sure before the show that your phone is completely on silent and will not disturb people around you. Never check your phone during the show, simply wait until intermission! Any food or drinks should be opened before the performance so that no opening of these items will be distracting to others. Putting your feet up on the seat in front of you, is also considered disrespectful.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Part One and Two here in London. During the process of finding tickets and going to the performance, I found many differences between shows in London and America.
When getting the tickets for this show, I made sure to go to the official website of the play. I double checked the times and showings for both parts and booked it 4 weeks ahead. I was very lucky to get tickets for the show because of its popularity! A show like this in New York would need a year in advance booking. I was also told to receive the tickets the day of the show, when in America we would have been emailed our tickets.
Another difference that I found was the queue line before the performance. I was told to get in line an hour before the performance and needed to be in my seat 15 minutes before curtain time. Once I got inside, people were selling coke products and snacks for people to bring in the theater. I was surprised to see the food and drink that we were able to bring inside! Playbills were also being sold for 5 pounds, when in America they are usually given out for free. Before the show started, we were reminded to turn off our phones to prevent any distractions. No photos were allowed to be taken during the performance which is also a rule in America.
Mass media plays a huge part in advertising these shows with posters and signs in tube stations. You will be able to find some hung on the walls as you make your way down the escalator to your tube line. Advertising in the tube station is a practical way to get information out to thousands of people who pass by. So many people use the tube station and will see these posters for the shows. Not only are the dates displayed on the posters, but also positive critiques advising people to buy tickets.
When it comes to buying tickets in London, pop up stores on the side of streets advertise and sell tickets for specific shows. I have not been into one of these stores, but personally I would not trust them! In case of any scams, I would advise going online and buying them there.
All in all, theater in America and London are not that all different. What is a big city without its theater and broadway shows? All over people appreciate the art and atmosphere that plays and musicals bring to cities. It makes the night life exciting with bars right around the corner to go to after the curtain closes!
Here is a list of my top favorite plays and musicals I have seen:
#1: “Harry Potter and the Curse Child” Part One & Two