What We Miss About Going to the Theater
From the sound of the orchestra tuning their instruments to making small talk with the person sitting next to you, there are many aspects of theatergoing outside of the actual “watching the show” part that make the endeavor a communal experience.
With large gatherings prohibited due to Covid-19, we’re missing a lot of communities right now, but theater hits particularly hard. What we wouldn’t give to down a drink at the bar and rush to a show or to step onto the subway platform and see everyone holding different programs and talking about the show.
Here are some of the little things we’re really missing these days. What aspects of theatergoing are pulling on your heartstrings right now?
Jessica, Tech Team
One of my favorite sounds has always been the sound the ticket scanner makes when entering a theater. The theater I saw shows at when I was growing up had the hand held scanners that made the little “do-dop” noise, and at this point I have an almost Pavlovian response to it. It made me excited to know I was about to see a show and was the first moment of “entering the theater” for me.
Cory, People + Culture Team
I miss settling into my seat, and looking at the audience around me. I always get the sense that while we settle in as strangers, we leave the theater having shared the unique, special, cathartic and (hopefully) life-changing experience of a show. I especially love intermission, hearing the people around me talk about what they loved most about Act One….and subsequently watching them spring to their feet at the curtain call.
Victoria, Product Team
There’s something exciting about the PA right before curtain asking us to turn off our phones and pay attention. It’s a brief moment to literally escape into another world and no one can from the real world can find you because you’ve turned off your tether. Every show has their own way of setting the mood right before hand and you can tell who might be one of the funnier cast members based on who does the announcement. It also gives me insight into the performance. Will it be lighthearted, irreverent? Will it be a solemn affair? It just gives me that blissful hit of excitement just as the lights start to dim.
Geri, Partnerships Team
That moment before the start of a musical where the musicians start tuning up their instruments and the audience all falls quiet at the same time.
Megan, Operations Team
I miss the subway ride (said no one ever until now) post-show, when the car is packed with a variety of yellow playbills sticking out of bags and hands, hearing snippets of chatter and feedback on the many performances from the evening.
Suzy, Marketing Team
I miss the anxiety around getting to a show on time. In these Covid days, there seems to be no sense of time and nowhere to be, and even though my friends might call me too strict about getting to the theater on time, I miss the rush of getting to the theater. The waiting for the bill at the bar. The rushing a series of blocks to make sure you get to the theater with enough time to use the bathroom, take a selfie, and post on social media. The feeling of relief when you’re settled in your seat, your phone is off, and you’re just waiting to be amazed.
Joseph, Partnerships Team
I miss the build up to seeing the show, the pre-drink with friends before, a bite to eat, the anticipation of what we are about to see. The panic of whether to go to the loo again before the show starts, deciding if you’ll make it through the whole first half. The arrival at your seat, observing who is sitting around you, studying the theatre’s amazing decor, looking up at the stunning chandelier or painted ceiling. Then you hear the bell, the announcement about no photography and then the overture begins!
Michelle, Partnerships Team
I miss the walk into the West End for pre-theatre drinks and nibbles, people watching along the way. The buzz of arriving at the theatre and taking in the rest of the audience as they enter and the noise and chatter as people find their seats. As you settle down in your seat you can hear the orchestra pit tuning their instruments and if it’s a show that you have revisited maybe you hear a snippet of your favourite song. The anticipation of curtain up and about to embark on a journey of pure escapism for the next few hours along with the brief intermission and the mad dash to the loo to beat the crowd as you want to be back in time for the second act, along with a quick visit to the bar for a drink!
Marika, Customer Services
I miss when the orchestra are tuning up their instruments and that anticipation for a play to begin. The euphoric moments and plot twists which make you feel like you are with the characters and you feel invested with everybody in that auditorium with you. Those endings which can stun an audience into silence and no one quite knowing how to react before the rapturous applause. And more importantly, processing these afterwards. Whether it be something you can relate to or the messages that can provoke change by challenging you. Theatre has so much power!
Zach, Tech Team
I miss squeezing past a row of side-angled knees at 7:57 while issuing a breathless stream of sorryscuseme’s to get to your spot in the absolute middle of the literal last row in the balcony, stuffing your winter jacket under your seat, trying to figure out if you went to college with that person three rows in front of you or they just have the same head shape, and ultimately realizing, right as the lights go down and the orchestra starts playing, that you just burned the roof of your mouth on a slice of 99¢ pizza.
Tony, Original Programming
I miss that moment, when the lights go off and the bows begin. I scramble to gather my belongings, put my jacket on and applaud and plan the exit strategy to bolt out of the theater before everyone else. The doors of the auditorium are just opening as the cast takes their final bows. The roar of the audience and the exit music transition into the sound of the city. Pedicab’s bells ring, horns blow, and I immediately turn to whoever I’m with and one of two things happen; we immediately celebrate the genius or we “wait until we get to the bar” to discuss the show. I miss that energy. That post-mortem rooted in love and passion. I miss the ice-cold martini with my theater date that becomes a gathering of thespians who stagger out of their shows that builds through the night and the impending hangover that is worth every Advil in order to repeat the cycle the night after.