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Lin-Manuel Miranda Bests a Snob at My Fair Lady: A Mini-Play About Theater Etiquette

“I had one of the all time best conversations with a Condescending Theatergoer Who Sat In Front Of Me at intermission of My Fair Lady,” Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote in the first of a series of Tweets. “Here’s a transcript:”

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Fringe Review: Flight

“Flight” turns out to be a sort of sequel to “The Little Prince” told through three acrobatic performers, who use their bodies to create characters and creatures and contrivances in clever and contorted ways.

I was initially drawn to see this 45-minute show at the New York Fringe festival because of this photograph, with what I took to be its promise of acrobatically aerial splendors:

Flight

Flight

More accurate is this one, which was taken during the performance of the show at the Edinburgh Fringe last year –

FringeatEdinburgh

 

And more accurate still is this one I took before the show this weekend on the bare stage of the 92nd Street Y.

FlightatY

 

What’s missing from these pictures is Ezra LeBank speaking, which he does almost continuously. He is the storyteller – he wrote the text and he does most of the talking, as both narrator and the central character of the pilot. The tale, as convoluted as the original, concerns the pilot’s return to find the little prince (Cynthia Price – or, more precisely, two of Cynthia Price’s fingers), who is now a girl, and theyr many adventures, including an encounter with a cactus (one of the roles portrayed by Taylor Casas.)

The story is amusing and fanciful and seemed to capture and hold the attention of both the eight-year-olds and many of the adults in the audience. But I personally could have appreciated “Flight” just as much had it been performed in silence. That way I could have avoided what seemed at times the distraction of the narration and concentrated on the dancing — or, to be more specific, on the sublime creations that come to life through nothing more than physical movement full of gracefulness and invention. Directed and choreographed by Olivia Trevino, the three performers collectively create a pirate – one of the women is LeBank’s beard and eye patch, the other his arms and hands. They form an automobile – the two women being the chassis and the headlights, LeBank the passenger – and an airplane – one is the wings and the other is LeBank’s goggles. Later, they are a wave in the ocean.

“One sees clearly only with the heart,” the fox famously tells the Little Prince in the original 1943 novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. “What is essential is invisible to the eyes.” But what I found most essential in “Flight” were the three bodies very visible to our eyes.

Flight

14th Street Y

Remaining show times

 

Theater Etiquette: Cell Phone Debate, Dilemma and Solutions

cellphoneart

Has cell phone use in the theater really gotten worse, or are audiences and artists simply complaining more? That was my first question in the #Howlround Twitter chat on theater etiquette (full transcript) which was a follow-up to my Howlround article entitled In Praise of Cell Phone Users,

“Could it be both?” answered Shawn C. Harris.

“Ethel Merman came down off the stage and bounced a noisy audience member, so this isn’t new,” replied Patricia Milton.

“It’s worse,” said Aleisha Force. “As we get more young people into the theater, we’re getting more phones. But they’re not getting the etiquette training.”

But some people see the problem not in the cell phone use, but in the complaining about it.

IN PRAISE OF CELL PHONE USERS: SUMMARY

In my article, I point to what feels like a ratcheting up of the number and intensity of complaints over cell phone use in the theater, and try to make a distinction between complaints by theatergoers and those by performers. I quote some performers as saying, in effect, that overcoming such distractions as cell phone use is part of their job. “The fun of performing comes from the unpredictability of the audience, including distractions,” actor Andrew Blair says.

Indeed, I was struck over the summer by how many distractions that performers at free (or low cost) outdoor shows had to put up with, from fire engine sirens to rain to the occasional crazy straggler, Cell phone use seemed very low down on the list of irritations. Why is it so much higher up on Broadway and the West End? Is it  the higher cost of the tickets? The nature of the shows? The expectations of the audience? Talk to a new generation of theater companies, and they make a point of welcoming cell phone users — and even cell phone use. “Our generation realizes we can’t fight it,” says Corley Pillsbury, a member of a company called thicket & thistle.

THE DILEMMA

The essential dilemma in this intense attention on theater etiquette is that the desperate desire to lure in new audiences seems at odds with this palpable rage at those theatergoers who don’t know “the rules” of theatergoing. This insistence on etiquette is a relatively modern phenomenon.   The importance of manners in the theater seems to have increased as theater’s status as a mass entertainment has decreased.

THE ABC’s OF CELL PHONE USE IN THE THEATER

Anthony P Andrews: Phones come out when we A) want to remember something awe inspiring or B) are bored out of our minds. Let’s aim to lose B

Patricia Milton: Also, C. Habit

Anthony P Andrews: True. But I think C happens less if we’re engaged to the point where we forget we even HAVE cell phones

Patricia Milton: But I think B gets blamed a lot for what is actually due to C.

CAUSES: BOREDOM VERSUS DISRESPECT

Raymond McNeel: Americans are rapidly losing their willingness to be held captive and endure boredom even momentarily

Shannon Leigh: It’s a matter of respect. Adults shouldn’t have to be taught how to behave in public setting

RESULTS: HOW CELL PHONE USE CAN “RUIN” A SHOW

Patricia Milton; Distracting light, activity, sound in the seat next to you while trying to listen to a ballad. Having to have internal debate – do I talk to the person, ask she stop, if I do will she escalate, etc.

SOLUTIONS

Nick Rehberger: We need to engage and not punish!

Todd Backus: The Vampire Cowboys had a great solution: a funny short film in which a woman killed offending patrons.
Tweet Seats and the like aren’t a bad idea. It’s how people engage with entertainment, so offer that.

J Adrian Verkouteren: Is the answer to post before ticket purchase what the expectations are for a given show? The expectations (phone policy, etc.) can be printed on ticket sales forms and posted at the box office. Just make policies clear earlier

Gabriela Jirasek: I think theaters can make a difference w/ phone usage by giving audiences specific & separate opportunities to snap selfies, tweet, etc. Provide space and time pre or post show to meet actors, photograph sets, etc. Welcome audiences and reward them with special access

Julio César Guerrero 1.Staff checking on doors that cell phones are mute or off. 2.Make strong/funny announcements inside the theater

Ben Ferber: We live with these devices as an important part of our lives. Being told they’re shameful won’t register. We need to be made more comfortable silencing our phones. We need to feel it’s a positive rather than a negativeWe need to be more welcoming to our audiences and make our (culturally-based) expectations clear but reasonable.

Other Articles on the Subject

Bring the noise: live theatre needn’t be watched in respectful silence by Lyn Gardner

In defense of the quieting of the audience (and so-called passive participation) by Diane Ragsdale

Patti LuPone and Cellphone-gazi by Scott Walters

Whether Quiet or Rowdy, It’s All About Making Meaning, also Pay Attention to the Show! (Or What You Will) by Lynne Conner, (and the various books, articles and other blog posts by Lynne Conner)

e.g. from Conner: “For thousands of years Western audiences were able to consume, enjoy, process, and understand an arts experience without the kind of silent and still spectatorship we expect in most arts venues today. Despite the historical evidence to the contrary, however, contemporary understandings about arts reception—significantly tied up with rules about arts etiquette—continue to support the notion that we cannot fully understand a work of art unless we are absolutely quiet and still. “

Sound of Music Snark. The Laugh Police. Off-Off Broadway Groundbreaking. The Week in New York Theater

LauraBenantionTVSoundofMusic2Let’s face it, the live TV broadcast of The Sound of Music overshadowed whatever exciting news about Broadway itself this week–  new leads for Bullets Over Broadway and Act One; the Grammy nominees for Best Musical Theater Album; firmed up dates for several shows — and even some literally groundbreaking news about Off-Off Broadway.

Below: recap (review) and some of the snarky Tweets during the show. Also: a spirited debate about theater etiquette.

Week in New York Theater Dec 2 to 8, 2013

Monday, December 2

DalyandMcNally
Tyne Daly returns to Broadway in Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons, at John Golden Theater. Previews begin Feb 23; opens March 24. Daly plays a mother who, 20 years after her son’s death from AIDS, travels from Texas to New York to see her son’s former lover.

Are you bored by whole passages of Shakespeare plays? Don’t feel guilty. That might be part of what makes them great.

Is this a Golden Age of Shakespeare? Or is the Bard a bully, crowding out others?

Aladdin marquee

Opened today: The New Amsterdam Theatre box office, for tickets to Aladdin, which arrives on Broadway Feb. 26

Pippin 9

Pippin recoups its  $8.5 million investment

kinkybootsatThanksgivingparade

Postscript to Kinky Boots attack: It had its best week ever, with more than 100% attendance & record-breaking $1.9 million at the box office.

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In the documentary Six by Sondheim: James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim,  Jackie Hoffman, America Ferrera, Darren Criss, Laura Osnes, and Jeremy Jordan

In the documentary Six by Sondheim: James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim, Jackie Hoffman, America Ferrera, Darren Criss, Laura Osnes, and Jeremy Jordan

Six By Sondheim debuts on HBO Monday. Watch video excerpt: Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan and America Ferrera sing “Opening Doors” from Merrily We Roll Along.

Mark Rylance as Olivia in Twelfth Night on Broadway

Mark Rylance as Olivia in Twelfth Night on Broadway

Producers, please note: Twelfth Night and Richard III did great at the box office even though they sell 2,000 seats per week at just $25.

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Most of the stars of Kinky Boots will be departing the show early next year but Billy Porter will remain at least through July 2014.

The Supremes

The Supremes

All evening performances of Motown the Musical will now be at 7:30.

Alexandra Silber, so terrific in Caramoor’s She Loves Me, will play a GI’s wife in new musical Arlington at the Vineyard Theater, opening in March.

Feel shut out of 700 Sundays on Broadway by its high prices? HBO is planning to film it.

MarySchmidtCampbellArts education makes a difference, says NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts departing dean Mary Schmidt Campbell: If you put well-designed arts programs into the schools… you can raise the performance in reading, math & science.

Good news: Twelfth Night and Richard III extended to Feb 16.

More great news: Fun Home, top of my top 10 list, extends once again at the Public Theater, to Jan 12.

The Rockettes in the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" in the Radi

Christmas Theater

Christmas cheer is a cut-throat business, something I learned from the composer of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, Johnny Marks, who pointed out to me that the success of his little ditty and others such as Jingle Bells filled the airwaves every December, making it nearly impossible to get airtime for new Christmas songs, including his own.

Does this work the same for Christmas theater?

Full article, listing the shows

Do the theater etiquette police ever make you wish you had stayed home?


Joy Meads ‏@capnjoy4  I regularly get glared at because I have a loud laugh. (Never disrespectful, in the wrong place, just loud.) I hate it.
I had one woman tell me I didn’t know how to attend theater. I said “ma’am, I’m the literary manager of Steppenwolf Theatre”
For the record, I’m a very respectful audience member. I think it’s about perceived class
 Jonathan Mandell: How did she react?
Joy Meads: just huffed and walked away. What could she say? Drove me crazy because she and her husband talked during the play. Come on.
Zena ‏@scarletseas4 no bc I’m usually one of them!
Jonathan Mandell: I hope you’re at least polite police. Rudeness is its own violation of theater etiquette
Zena: agreed – remember in cinema man shushed me when I was telling MD sis what happened as she had gone out to answer her pager!
Iana Brownstein ‏@bostonturgy Surly British woman waited til quiet moment of ART in West End, turned & yelled at me: “You have the MOST annoying laugh!”
Raymond McNeel ‏@RaymondMcNeel  The second most important reason the under 30 crowd stays home.
Danielle Pashun ‏@DanielleP3214  I think we need more of them! Ppl think when a scene ends that means “commercial break” which means “lets have a convo” :/
KatieGonzo ‏@KatieGonzo Depends. Are they quietly raising a hand to still the water-torture of someone unwrapping a candy?
On the other hand, some old biddy subscribers once chastised my students for “laughing too much”- *at the jokes*.

Joy Meads: Down with the laugh police!

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Marin Mazzie cast in Bullets Over Broadway’s much-sought role of drunk leading lady Helen Sinclair (played by Dianne Wiest in the film)

The arts and culture contribute $500 billion to GDP, more than travel & tourism, in first-ever (!) measure of their economic value. The new index meets longtime challenge… of determining the arts’ value, says National Endowment for the Art research director.

The problem with putting a dollar figure on the arts and culture is that no matter how high, dollars don’t get at the arts’ full value.

Details on Big Fish’s album: released digitally Feb. 7, 2014, in stores, Feb. 11 from Broadway Records.

Why Spider-man move to Vegas isn’t sign of failure: Defensive rant about NY snobs from Las Vegas Weekly. “Vegas can do NY theater successfully, but NY still hasn’t figured out how to do much that’s Vegas-worthy.”
Nella Vera ‏@spinstripes And thank god for that!
Terry Teachout  Is that a good thing or a bad thing
Kate O’Phalen ‏@KateOPhalen Man, does that article miss the mark *and* reek of the same snideness it accuses NY of. Just because you can import watered down bway show, doesn’t mean you can do NY theatre.
Sierra Rein ‏@SierraRein Author writes “I don’t know if Spider-Man is crap. It might be” = ignorance. It was a mess.
Kate O’Phalen: Also agreed on that. I’ve seen Vegas-style shows, and Spider-Man was not up to par.

“When is it censorship, and when is it simply saying no thanks?”Clayton Lord writes about Mormon love of art and the Trumbull high school principal’s banning of the musical Rent in order to conclude: Some works of art “might just not fit into the values, mores, and beliefs of a particular group of people” Interesting to read the comments at the bottom.

The Sound of Music


SoundofMusicMariaandkidsI wrote what I called a recap of The Sound of Music (really a review) but there was a whole different entertainment going on during the show – “live-Tweeting it.” One person’s sample:

Should Ill Theatergoers Stay Home? What About The Disabled?

A theatergoer threw up in “Grace,” prompting Paul Rudd to go on David Letterman. What if the person was not drunk, but ill?

About half an hour into the play “Sorry” at the Public Theater yesterday afternoon, the actor Jay O. Sanders suddenly announced: “Somebody is ill. Is there a doctor in the house?”

A woman in the first row was having some kind of convulsion.

The house lights went on, a doctor in the audience went to the woman, who had by then become unconscious. He and members of the cast and theater staff brought her to the floor; felt her pulse; brought her water. She seemed to recover, and, from where I was sitting, looked as if she wanted to go back to her seat and continue watching the play. Eventually, she was persuaded to leave.

There was irony for me in what had happened. I had originally invited an old friend of mine to accompany me, but he decided not to go after calling the theater and asking two questions: How long is the show? What are the seats like?

He recently has developed a chronic condition called neuropathy, which makes it painful for him to sit for too long. The staff member who answered the telephone told him that the show ran two hours without intermission and that the seats were “standard.” Actually, the seats were atypically comfortable for a downtown theater, but I only found that out when I got there, accompanied by somebody I invited at the last minute to replace my friend.

I suddenly remembered that long ago, in a marathon production, a woman sitting behind me had the kind of chronic cough that sounded as if the monster from Alien was trying to emerge from her throat. Nine hours I listened to this wracking cough; other audience members apparently gave her looks, because in-between the coughs, she would say “I can’t help it.”

This issue has actually made the news recently – even the late-night talk shows.

Somebody in the balcony vomited on the orchestra patrons in “Grace,” prompting the star Paul Rudd to tell David Letterman his top ten thoughts: e.g. “not my worst review.” Most seem to have assumed the person in the balcony was drunk. Might they have been ill?

The question this prompts: Should people stay home if they’re sick?   The answer seems obvious to many people:

Lisa B. Thompson: Yes!

Elizabeth Richards: if you can’t keep your fluids to yourself, yes, please stay home.

Andy Helms: Yes. Should people with a bad cough go to chamber recitals that will be recorded live? No. They shouldn’t. It’s rude.

But there are other ways to look at this – from the point of view of the ill theatergoer. As Eric Bohn points out, theatergoers don’t have understudies.

 Jonathan Silverstein: “I’d love to hear how most box offices would deal with an “I’m sick” excuse to exchange tickets.”

Diane Wilshere:” From my experience if you are a subscriber they will exchange same day but expect a fee. Regular ticket-holders are usually out of luck.”

Howard Sherman remembers seeing both American Buffalo and Noises Off even though he was running a fever; he felt compelled to attend, since he had bought his tickets in advance, and couldn’t exchange them.

Haleh Roshan has similar experiences: “So many times I’ve either gone and fought sniffling/coughing (annoying everyone else),” she says, “or stayed home but felt guilt for the wasted $$$ (especially since it usually means i have to buy ANOTHER ticket for myself).”’

Jeremy Kareken offers a suggestion, surely tongue-in-cheek: “Do advance purchases cause viral infections? TKTS all the way.”

But this question is more complicated than it may seem, something of a confounding dilemma that the theater community has not been doing enough to resolve.  Did the theatergoer at “Sorry” know she was going to be sick? What if she has a chronic condition and never knows if and when she’ll have an attack? Should they, like my friend, stay home on the chance that their condition will act up?

Legally, a person with a chronic condition, whether or not it is disruptive, is officially disabled, and is protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act. But this is not just a legal issue. It’s a moral quandary. Should somebody be denied the pleasure of theater  who is arguably most in need of such a diversion?

Nigil Whyte offers a solution that is probably unworkable, but with reasoning that is impeccable: “I think there should be a seating location for them, near the exit. But no one should ever be deprived from seeing theater.”

Opening Applause for Celebrities?

Should David Schwimmer be applauded the moment he appears on stage?

Should David Schwimmer be applauded the moment he appears on stage?

Should audiences applaud celebrities at the beginning of a show?

I was struck recently at the response at two different plays, when a handful of people started to applaud David Schwimmer (in “Detroit” at Playwrights Horizons) and Jake Gyllenhaal (in “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet” at Laura Pels Theater), when they first appeared on stage. Both are in ensemble productions, and the tentative applause died out quickly, as if killed by the glare of the rest of the audience.

So should audiences clap their hands for performers before they’ve done anything?

“Count me as a NO,” replied New York Times critic Jason Zinoman (@zinoman). “Always makes me think of The Fonz.”

“Yes briefly,” said educator Donalda A. McCarthy (@MissDonni). “It’s a sign of encouragement,” added improv artist Amelia B. (@Mealz1042). “I think an audience-actor rapport is important for a show’s energy.”

“No,” answered Goodman Theater artistic director Robert Falls (@RobertFalls201), “but it’s human nature. We’ve always been a celebrity culture.”

Other replies:

Director Daniel Bourque (@Danfrmbourque ): “Opening Hand Syndrome” is VERY annoying. In the name of ensemble and against celebrity worship: No.

Actress “T” (@tambobambo): Brilliant actors who are celebrities, yes I guess? I’d applaud Kevin Spacey but not Paris Hilton

“Aspiring song and dance woman” Noelle Martone (@NoelleMartone17): Only the ones with talent 😉

Staci Vanderwiel (@swaxie): I feel like it’s disrespectful not to, but I find the applause very distracting.

Actor Andy Massingham (@andymassingham): Puts the play on pause. Good or bad,that feeling is always palpable. I’ve seen it work and sat through the AGONY of it not working

“Gay male atheist” Karen Wilson (@akakarenwilson): Depends on the piece. A good director will make sure the audience knows whether or not to applaud.

Theatermaker Ian Hill (@GeminiCollision): A book on their Hamlet says that actor Richard Burton and director John Gielgud tried unsuccessfully to avoid opening applause.

Director Kevin Laibson (@kevinlaibson): It messes up the rhythm of the show, and other actors can’t like it much

“HK” (@uglyfloralblaus): I don’t want to be pulled out of the play. I’d rather show my respect at the end.

Actor Michael Pereira ‪@AllAboutMichael Depends if they have a history of being brilliant or not

Steven Van Zile (@‪StevenVanZile): Yes. Gets it off everybody’s minds and writers can work it in.

Miles Lott (@mlottjr) Does the opening applause come from genuine excitement and appreciation or is it becoming obligatory, like standing ovations?

Performing and reviewing duo Andrew Andrew (‪@AndrewAndrew): Just like “ovation inflation” it seems people think opening applause compulsory. Why clap for a sofa on a set?

Update:

The Globe and Mail of Canada has published two articles one pro to entrance applause, one con

A star enters, we clap. What’s the problem? by J. Kelly Nestruck

When a famous performer – whether lowbrow like Alan Thicke or highbrow like Christopher Plummer – walks on stage, the waking dreamworld is broken for a moment whether you want to admit it or not. Entrance applause seems to me a natural acknowledgment of that rupture, especially since so many of us really go to the theatre for two reasons: to see a particular actor and to see the show they’re in.

Hold your applause unti an actor deserves it by Kate Taylor

I object to entrance applause because it is a nasty manifestation of a celebrity-obsessed culture that, tautologically, takes an actor’s fame as a measure of his achievement rather than judging his current performance. It is kind of a consumer issue:

Twitter Badge (.gif)

Theater Etiquette: Curtain Calls. Rude To Leave Early?

Curtain call for Once. Most are standing up to applaud. Are some standing up to leave?

As a follow-up to the Twitter debate over leaving at a show’s intermission(which began after the discussion over standing “ovation inflation”) Frank Rizzo, the theater critic for the Hartford Courant, weighed in on a pet peeve – leaving during the curtain call. Another debate ensued, enlisting views of Wall Street Journal theater critic Terry Teachout, Washington Post critic Peter Marks and other critics, performers, a prominent artistic director, bloggers, and regular theatergoers.

Frank Rizzo (@showriz): Intermission exits are encouraged for the disgruntled. I’m talking just as show is ending to get a cab or get to their cars
Terry Teachout (@TerryTeachout): Never show your back to the performers. Don’t know who said it first, but it’s good counsel. I can’t claim to hew to it consistently, but I always feel guilty when I don’t.
Peter Marks (‏@petermarksdrama):I’ve been admonished by many on here about the impoliteness of early departure. So I’ve reformed. Somewhat.
Frank Rizzo: I block those who try to leave my row while actors are taking their bows
Jeff Kyler (@JKsTheatreScene): It is rude to leave just before/during curtain call. Especially if it means walking over people to get out. Hate it? Don’t clap!
Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater): Leaving during curtain call is not necessarily disapproval: Some people are disabled, live far away, etc.
Jeff Kyler: OK, disabled is one thing. But live far away? 3 minutes isn’t gonna change a thing.
Frank Rizzo: They can [expletive] wait 20 seconds. So what if they live far away. Why should disabled be the first to leave? Safer for them to leave last and not get pushed and shoved by crowd.
Natalie Robin ‏‪@natalierobinLD
absolutely rude unless it is a medical emergency. Catching a train or getting to the garage before the crowd doesn’t count
Dee Dee Benkie (‏@deedeegop): After they danced and sang their hearts out – what’s three more minutes of applause? Rude not to stay
Garrett Eisler (‏@theplaygoer): Even worse are the rustlers and coat-grabbers who spring into action as soon as there’s any hint of a denouement
Kate Devine (@luminositease) I think it’s atrociously rude. And in NYC, what do they think they’re going to do – beat traffic if they leave 30 seconds early?
Jonathan Mandell: I live close. For others, waiting 20 seconds can mean 20 minutes and missing train because, let’s face it, theaters are inefficient in crowd control
Ran Xia (@Rhinoriddler): Sometimes people leave before curtain call to catch buses, totally understandable.
Jeff Kyler: If they are late for a train, they should have planned better. It is so disrespectful.
Jonathan Mandell: If we ignore the practical needs of the average theatergoer, there won’t be much of an audience
Frank Rizzo: If they disrupt other people’s theater experiences by their rude behavior, you will lose those good folks
Suzan Eraslan (‏‪@SuzanEraslan)
Oh, barf. Like indulging our egos is more important than being on time to a later appointment or attending to an emergency.
Sondra (@Sondra): You have to cut out early to make it to the stage door if the actor you want to meet leaves very quickly
Frank Rizzo: So Sandra says be rude to actors and cut out of curtain call in order to meet actors afterwards. Strange.
Carli (@CarliFromNJ):
It shows a complete lack of respect for the performers….. If your bus home to Alabama is leaving in 5 minutes and there isn’t another one for two days, that’s MAYBE ok.
Jonathan Mandell: Is it devilish of me to point out that a standing ovation makes it easier to leave mid-curtain call.
@DrHornetBupp: I must confess after several curtain calls of a show I didn’t love, I have snuck out while people were standing. Many do it!
Sarah-Jane Stratford ‏(@stratfordsj): It’s more polite to leave during curtain calls than to sit with arms folded, seething.
Charlene V. Smith ‏(@charlenevsmith): I don’t understand the vehement responses. The play’s over. Go ahead and leave. I’m not in the arts for the curtain calls.
Robert Falls (‏@RobertFalls201): It’s just fucking rude to exit during bows. THEY ARE part of show. Hate production, fine; respect cast.

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.

RUDE?

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?

SHOWS GETTING WORSE?

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.

DOGS, CATS AND CRITICS

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.

NEVER WALKED OUT

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