What To Expect the First Time You Attend a Broadway Show

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When you go to a Broadway show, you can expect to see some of the best acting and singing in the world. The productions are lavish and often require very complex staging and special effects. If you have never been to a Broadway production before, you are in for an experience like no other.

Once you get your Broadway tickets, if you’ve never been to a show, you might be wondering what to expect. Let’s take a look at a few things you can expect when you attend your first Broadway show experience.



Broadway shows are typically accompanied by an orchestra, which traditionally opens the show with an overture or introduction. This can be a great opportunity to experience some of the show’s best music and get settled in before the show starts. If you’re not familiar with the story or characters, this can also be a good time to get oriented and start anticipating what’s to come. If you have a playbill, you can take this time to look through it to get more acquainted with the show and get a better idea of who the actors are.


Most Broadway shows with a running time that exceeds 90 minutes will include an intermission. Intermissions can be anywhere from 10-20 minutes, with 15-minute breaks being by far the most common. Broadway shows that are longer might even have two intermissions, with one in the middle of the show and another towards the end. During intermission, you can get up and stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, buy snacks or drinks from the concessions stand, and chat with your friends. Typically when intermission is about to end, the lights in the lobby will flash to let you know to return to your seats.

Talking, Clapping, and Cheering


When attending a Broadway show for the first time, it is important to be aware of the etiquette that comes with watching a live performance. One of the most important things to remember is not to talk during the show. This can be difficult, especially if you are sitting close to someone who is talking, but it is very important that you try not to disturb other audience members.

On the other hand, Broadway fans are passionate and love to express their joy and enthusiasm for the performances they are seeing. This can be done through clapping and cheering throughout the show as the opportunity arises. This is especially true during a musical performance once the number has ended. Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm during the show by clapping and cheering with the rest of the audience.

Special Effects and Sound

Broadway shows are highly produced and very professional. As a result, you might expect that some musical elements will be very loud. Broadway shows are also known for their big sound and elaborate sets. Many times there will also be special effects, like pyrotechnics or flying pieces of scenery. In many instances, the producers of the show are trying to make the story come right off of the stage. For example, in the famous chandelier scene in Phantom of the Opera, the giant theater chandelier comes crashing down onto the stage. Additionally, in Miss Saigon, some of the performances land a helicopter on the stage! When you attend your first show, be prepared to have your senses overwhelmed.

Going to a Broadway show for the first time is an exciting experience. The most important thing to remember is to dress comfortably and to be aware of the show’s runtime. It is also important to be aware of the different types of Broadway shows and to choose one that is appropriate for your interests. Finally, be sure to enjoy the experience and take in everything that Broadway has to offer!