Is It OK To Walk Out At Intermission? A Twitter Debate

Ben Brantley recently condemned ovation inflation – excessive standing ovations. Are we seeing the opposite too — more people walking out of shows at intermission?

Adam Gale (@ArgoTheatricals ):I think they leave early because some of them just dropped by to use their cell phones.

kevin laibson ‏(@kevinlaibson): I’m a firm believer in people walking out at intermission. It’s definitely not the audience’s responsibility to stay.

Robert Falls ‏(@RobertFalls201): I agree — feel free – it always clears the bad vibes for others who are into it. Leave by all means but wait till break; I hate people leaving before and during bows

 Daryl Roth Theater (@DRT_Venues): There are so many shows with greater second acts that could change the minds of unsatisfied patrons.

 Kevin Laibson: Then, I think, the first act needs to be re-worked. Or word-of-mouth had better be AWESOME.


Is leaving a live show before it ends rude and hurtful to the performers? In most cases, the performers are not the ones at fault.

Ana Flores (@anaflores )Definitely rude to leave during intermission or arrive late. Also rude to leave right before/during curtain call.

Alex Jensen (@Jensen11us)  It’s my right as a ticket holder to leave! If more people left during bad theatre maybe there wouldn’t be so much of it!

Karen D’Souza ‏(@KarenDSouza4): Leaving a show you loathe at intermission is actually polite as opposed to staying and yawning and sighing and texting

Liz ‏Richards (@misslizrichards): Leaving at intermission is at least more polite than leaving mid-scene. Do people think the cast doesn’t notice?


Melisa Annis ‏(@MelisaAnnis) Never walked out before 2011, since then I have walked out at intermission three times!

Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) Why is that? Are shows getting worse, or you’re getting less patient?

Melisa Annis: For me;t he quality of a) production value b) exciting ideas, has gone down.Note:haven’t walked out of Off-Broadway prod.


Jonathan Mandell: I was taught that as a critic, I must never leave a show before it’s over.

Robert FallsYou were well taught. I think a professional critic must complete his job – to review entire show.

Jonathan Mandell: Only time I left at intermission: Epidog by @MabouMines. I thought it was over: The dog had died. But in Act II, it was in Heaven.

Robert Falls: Same thing happened in CATS with the mangy female feline. I missed the heavenly ascent

Michael Farino ‏(@rainboweventsny): Really? I’ve left at intermission Jekyl & Hyde LOVE music, hated show, left Baby It’s u & hate 2 say, I left Nice work if u.


Tyler Martins ‏(@mrtylermartins):I’ve never left. Sometimes, there is redemption in Act 2. Other times, no. Bad Theater = conversation starters.

Kevin Daly ‏(@kevinddaly): Only seriously considered leaving once, the revival of the Philanthropist,, but decided I wasn’t going to let a bad production get the

Ana Flores: Only show I’ve ever wanted to leave is Cats. Other times,can’t justify paying so much $ and leaving halfway.

Lee Siegel ‏(@Lee_Siegel🙂 I’ve left a show at intermission & during the final bow of another. Sometimes you just can’t take anymore. Guilty

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

6 thoughts on “Is It OK To Walk Out At Intermission? A Twitter Debate

  1. There have been shows I’ve seriously disliked that featured some amazing performances. There were a few shows this season that didn’t impress me at all but the performances given in act two made me really glad to have stayed. Once you’re there already, I think it’s always worth giving it a shot.

  2. I’ve left a few shows at intermission. One was because our seats were changed to the back of the mezzanine, and we didn’t know about it till we got to the theater. We could barely hear nor see anything and felt completely justified in walking out. Another time (last week) I was at a revue-style show. It started more than 10 minutes late. Intermission went passed the 20-minute mark. I wasn’t really enjoying myself, so I decided to leave. When an usher told me the show was about to start, I said that I wasn’t feeling well and needed to go home. Had I had a front row seat, perhaps I would have stayed, but I don’t think I was missed by anyone.

  3. What happened to great musicals? Just left “Book of Mormans” and could not leave fast enough. Absolutely the worst show that I have ever seen. A waste of my time and money.

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