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Your Broadway Theatre Seating Guide
Located adjacent to Times Square, New York City's very own Broadway district is named after the theatrical performances hosted at the theatres in the area. One of the most popular tourist attractions in NYC, the Theater District is a bustling, vibrant area that attracted over 15 million people between 2018-19. The Theater District is home to 41 Broadway theatres and 62 Off-Broadway theatres. The difference between the two is purely from a size scale point of view. For a theatre to classify as a Broadway theatre, it needs to have a seating capacity of more than 500 while an Off Broadway theatre has a seating capacity of 99 to 499 seats.. In terms of the budget and the talent they attract, Broadway productions are considered more prestigious.
Your trip to New York City is incomplete without watching at least one Broadway show. But your Broadway experience will only be as good as the seats you pick. Select the wrong seat and you'll be straining to see the stage throughout the entire performance. We don't want that to happen. To help you make the right decision when it comes to Broadway theatre seats, we have put together a convenient Broadway theatre seating guide with handy tips and tricks on how to score the best seats in the house.
Broadway Theater Seating Sections
All 41 Broadway theaters have a unique floor plan and seat count. Some have just two sections, while others have four, all depending on the size of the theater. In general, these are the different Broadway theater seating sections.
1. Orchestra Section Seating
The first seating section in any theatre is the orchestra. This is the only section that's not elevated, although there is a gradual incline as the row number increases. Given that the orchestra is the closest to the stage and offers spectacular views, it's the most popular and expensive seating area in a Broadway theatre. The orchestra section generally has more legroom than other sections in the theater and offers unobstructed views of the stage, especially from the front and middle rows.
2. Front Mezzanine Section Seating
Most theatres, depending on their size, have either one mezzanine section or two; front and rear mezzanine. The front mezzanine is the first elevated seating section in the theater and offers a great view of the stage. The first couple of rows of this section are premium and amongst the most expensive in the house. Generally, the front mezzanine section doesn't have too many rows, especially if the theatre has a rear mezzanine section as well.
3. Rear Mezzanine Section Seating
Only available in theaters with a front mezzanine, the rear mezzanine generally mirrors its sister section. In some of the smaller theaters, the rear mezzanine is the last seating section of the house, being the furthest from the stage. The views offered from rear mezzanine seats are average at best which is reflected with the average prices. The front row of the rear mezzanine is actually quite value money since the view is unobstructed and the ticket prices are reasonable.
The balcony is always the last seating section in any Broadway theatre. Available only in big theaters, the balcony is famous for housing the cheapest seats in the house. As you can well imagine, the view from the balcony seats isn't something to write home about. Some theatres, due to their design, have a curved balcony, which means that extreme corner seats offer a side-view of the stage. If you're looking for last-minute Broadway tickets and have no option but the balcony, you can opt for seats in the front couple of rows.
5. Box Seats
Like the name suggests, box seats are separate boxes located on either side of the orchestra and mezzanine sections. Generally, these boxes house two or four seats each and offer a relatively private theatre watching experience. The prices for this exclusivity are quite high and the view is decent. Ideal for people on a date, the box seats tend to sell out fast given their limited number. A handy tip; when booking box seats, make sure the seats are as far away from the stage as possible for a better angle.
6. Standing Room Only
Only available in some of the biggest Broadway theaters, Standing Room Only (SRO) is a row at the end of the theater where people with SRO tickets can stand and watch the performance. Please note that no seats are available in this section and the ticket prices reflect that. Opt for SRO tickets only if you're very excited about watching a show and are unable to find regular tickets. This is because you'll be standing for almost two hours and that might not be the best way to watch a Broadway show.
How To Choose The Best Seats In A Theatre?
There are certain factors you need to consider when looking for the best seats in a theatre. These include:
Type of Show
Your choice of the best seats in a theatre directly depends on the type of show you're watching. For instance, if you're watching a play, the best seats in the house will be in the front of the orchestra. A musical, on the other hand, can be best enjoyed from the first row the mezzanine or the middle rows of orchestra.
Another important consideration when looking for the best seats in a theatre is its design. All Broadway theaters are structured differently and what's the best seat in one theater won't necessarily be the best in another. Look at the theatre's seating chart to understand its structure.
A tall person might prefer sitting in a seat with enough legroom while a short person would rather sit in the front row seats. Depending on your build, pick a seat that you think works well for your specification.
When looking for the best seats, keep the above factors in mind and book your tickets. If you need the best seats in the house, you'll need to book your tickets quite a few months in advance because premium seats tend to sell out pretty quickly. If for some reason you haven't booked your tickets till the last moment, TKTS, Broadway lottery, and the Cancellation Queue are your best bets. Here are some other ways to score last-minute tickets to top Broadway shows
Best seats for a Broadway Musical
Depending on whether you're watching a musical or a play, your choice of seating changes. Musicals are generally loud, bright and super fun. The production is planned in a way that allows the complete utilisation of the stage and the performers also move around quite a bit. To watch a musical, the best seats would be from a height for instance the first or second row seats in the mezzanine. Since you'll be looking at the stage from top, you won't miss anything that's happening and enjoy the songs and dances in all their fabulous glory. The middle row seats in the orchestra are also great since the seats in that section incline gradually.
Best seats for a Broadway Play
Unlike musicals, which are big and splashing spectacles, plays are intimate and usually character driver. Seats that work great for a musical wouldn't have the same effect for a play. When watching a Broadway play, the best seat in the house is usually the first couple of rows in the orchestra. Being quite close to the stage, these front row seats allow you to immerse yourself in the actors' performance and truly experience the magic of theatre. Also, unlike a musical, plays don't generally utilize the entire stage so you don't have to worry about missing any of the action.
Which Seats Have The Best View?
While most Broadway theaters are structurally different, the sections and seats remain the same. Every theater has an orchestra and a mezzanine, and if it's a big theater, a balcony as well. Generally, the front and middle rows of the orchestra and the front row of the mezzanine are considered the best in the house. These seats offer a clean, unobstructed view of the stage and the acoustics are pitch perfect. While the general section remains the same, the seats may move up or down a row depending on the theater's size. Here's a look at the seating sections that fit the criteria below:
Value For Money Section
Value for money seats are reasonably priced seats that offer a decent view of the stage. On a general note, the late-middle rows in the orchestra section are quite value for money. These seats aren't the most expensive in the house yet offer a good look at the stage. In the mezzanine, the middle rows are value for money while in the balcony, the first couple of rows take the honor.
Best Legroom Seats
Given how many seats are fit in a small theater on Broadway, legroom can be an issue. If you need seats with great legroom, opt for any aisle seat or seats in the first row of any section. There will be plenty of room to stretch your legs in any of these seats.
Best Views of The Stage
This category depends on a lot of other factors, but generally, the middle orchestra and front mezzanine seats offer the best views of the stage. If you don't mind the height, the first couple of rows of the balcony also offer a pretty great view of the stage.
Premium seats can be found in the middle of the first couple of rows in the orchestra. These seats are suitable for both plays and musicals and you get a great look at the stage and the performers. As the name suggests, these seats are also amongst the most expensive in most theaters.
Now that you know the ins and out of most Broadway theatre seating charts, go on and book the seats that suit you best!