Top 10 Theater-Going Tips

For the next time you’re heading out for a night of theater, ballet, opera, dance, or music keep these top 10 theater hacks in mind!

1.  Get there early

You never know what to expect with traffic in LA, nor will you know the parking situation. It’s always best to have plenty of time to avoid any snafu’s as well as a little breathing time. (It’s super embarrassing to be the heavy breather in the row because you were running to get in the doors on time!)  What’s more, we’ve packed all kinds of cool (and free) pre-show activities into our events!  Get the skinny on the show, company and artists you’re about to see by attending one of our pre-show Dance Talks (beginning an hour before every show) or partake in our dance trivia games and win cool prizes (more at our info tables in the lobby.)  Strike a pose on our red carpet backdrop, or visit one of our many interactive demos and displays around the lobby.



2.  Dress to impress (but be comfortable)

While theater has historically been known for seeing and being seen, the days of dressing to the nines for the theater are over. That said, it’s always a delight to see a dressed up crowd, especially on an opening night, so if you feel like getting fancy, go with your gut! It’s most important that you’re comfortable (think of light jackets) since the theaters tend to get chilly with all that AC trying to counter-balance the heat from the stage lights.  But steer clear of flip flops and beachwear!  Still in need of some inspiration? Peruse our best-dressed fashion tumblr for some real life examples of our favorite looks from our lobbies!

3.  Get the most out of your ticket

Did you know that all of our 2014/15 Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center tickets include a slew of cool perks? Score deals on drinks, dinners and even dance wear by showing your ticket to our Ticket Perk partners!  More info on all print at home tickets, or by visiting our Ticket Perk page.



4.  Eat before hand

Don’t run the risk of settling down for a show that doesn’t get out until all restaurants have closed! This happens far too often! Patina has a variety of dinner and drink options all around The Music Center’s campus which makes for the perfect solution for pre-show peckishness.  You can also check out this handy list of our favorite downtown spots sure to satisfy your appetite. Some even include a shuttle to the theater!



5.  Order that intermission drink ahead of time

You waited in line all through intermission to get a drink, only to find as soon as you’ve got it… the intermission bell rings and everyone is rushing back to their seats! Two, maybe three gulps, and then tossed so unceremoniously in the trash. Does this sound familiar? Here’s a simple theater hack for you – depending on what show you’re seeing, you can usually pre-order your intermission drink at one of the lobby bars before the performance starts (another reason to be early.)  And for some shows, you can set up your order directly from your phone!  Pay attention to signage at the bars and take advantage of pre-ordering whenever you can!


6.  Be courteous to others in your row

It’s a shared space the theater. That means the armrests are a courteous place to allow the stranger next to you to use from time to time. Backs of seats are definitely not for bumping, kicking, or using to pry yourself out of your chair. And we all know emergencies happen, but do try your best to not need to climb in and out of a row during the performance.  If you’re able, stand up for others trying to pass you to get to their seats and when making your way across the aisle, it is customary to angle your body towards the stage.

7.  Don’t talk during the show

This should go without saying, but we’ve all been there and heard the ruckus that a chatty audience member can stir up! It isn’t just the initial talking, but also all the “Shh!” “Be Quiet!” “Tsk!” from fellow audience members that can really take you out of the moment. Just don’t be any of those people! Stay on target!

8. Read the program notes

This is one that’s easy to overlook, but friends, that complementary program the usher just handed you has all kinds of crazy good stuff in it beyond cast, crew and acknowledgements (though it’s important to know those things as well!)  Usually there are some intriguing program notes, often written by leaders in the artistic field, that will not only give you insight into the program you’re about to see, but genuinely enhance your experience of it as well.  Read the program notes.  You’ll be thankful you did!



9. Discuss, discuss, and discuss some more with theater pals

So the show is over, now you jump in your car and hit the 101?  If you can, spend some post-show time with your fellow patrons and chat about what you just saw (it can really add to YOUR experience to hear how a show effected other people.)  There are so many wonderful little bars and cafes downtown that are perfect for a late night discussion among friends. Find a comfy corner and indulge in an artsy discourse!  You may even find inspiration or greater critical thinking for future shows.



10. Share on Social Media

Did you like what you saw? Then tell the world! Most people come to see something because it was recommended by a friend.  Don’t let your opinion go unnoticed! You may even find out about a few others in your circles who saw the same show you did!  Sometimes the performers will also see what you post and be oh so grateful that you enjoyed your time in the theater!  What’s more, there are usually all kinds of extra goodies, contests to win, and behind the scenes looks to be found on The Music Center’s channels during show weeks. So follow @MusicCenterLA and use any hashtags you see posted at the theater to take part in a bigger discussion and enhance your theater going experience even after you’ve left the theater!