Atlanta Music Scene

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Going to ‘Hamilton’? Then these etiquette rules may apply


BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene

At the back of every show program when you attend a Broadway production at the Fox Theatre is a list.

It’s a handy list.

It’s an important list.

It’s also a list often ignored by theatergoers.

This list is a gentle reminder of some basic etiquette rules when attending a theatrical performance (some could also apply to concerts and baseball games, but that’s a story for the next time we’re feeling cranky).

On Tuesday, “Hamilton” makes its long-awaited, discussed-to-death debut at the Fox , where it will reign through June 10.

Given the rabid interest in the musical and the length of its run, there will likely be a sizable portion of attendees who aren’t regular theater patrons. For some, it will be their introduction to the magical world of musicals.

So, to help you — and those sitting near you — best enjoy the experience, we reached out to the Fox’s senior director of sales and marketing, Jamie Vosmeier, and also conducted an informal survey on Twitter and Facebook to discuss the types of behaviors — pet peeves, if you will — to avoid when attending “Hamilton” (again, feel free to apply these to any public outing because they’re equally irritating in every setting).

Just remember: Everything you do affects the people in your orbit. Have a little awareness outside of your lane. And that includes opening your noisy candy/mint/gum/cough drop/throat lozenge wrappers before the show starts.

  • Get there on time. Sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised. Showtimes vary. Check your tickets and make a plan that takes traffic or MARTA into account.

“The show comes with its own set of rules as far as seating holds, but we have the discretion to wait and not seat you until intermission,” Vosmeier said.

Why? Because as annoyed as you will be for having to stand in the lobby for part of a show that you paid seven billion dollars to see, the entire row of people that has to stand up to let you and your party stumble through between scenes won’t be any happier.

Also remember that the Fox uses metal detectors, so visit foxtheatre.org ahead of time for a list of prohibited items.

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  • We’re going to remind you — nicely at first — to TURN OFF YOUR PHONES. We don’t care if you’re using the light to read the name of a song. What did you do 15 years ago? You squinted or read it at intermission. Pretend like it’s 2003 for a couple of hours, ‘K?

And yeah, we know that some of you have babysitters who might be checking in. That’s the purpose of lobbies, bathroom lounges and intermission. If something so important is happening that you need to check your texts in the middle of “My Shot,” then maybe you shouldn’t be at the theater.

  • OK, this is a tough one, especially for “Hamilton” fans because we know how you feel about that soundtrack. We know that you’ve memorized every cadence of every rap. Every morsel and inflection of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliant lyrics. And we don’t want to hear you perform any of it. That’s why there are professionals onstage and why the audience paid (seven billion dollars, remember?) for tickets.

“As much as you want to sing along, going to the theater is a very different experience than going to a concert,” Vosmeier reminded. “It’s not encouraged at all.”

  • Speaking of voices … while the show is taking place, no one wants to listen to your conversation about work, your kids, what you thought of “Deadpool 2” or that you spent seven billion dollars on your “Hamilton” tickets and the guy next to you only paid seven million (see: lobbies, bathroom lounges and intermission). And the volume of a song rising is not your cue to talk over it. (If you want to sing, here is an option for you.)

  • And finally, a few words about movement. It is rude and disrespectful for the performers — and your fellow seat dwellers — to pop up in the middle of a song and climb over 13 people because you just decided you want a drink. We cannot stress enough — PLEASE STAY SEATED UNTIL INTERMISSION. If you have some sort of medical emergency, this does not apply. But a sudden desire for a second chardonnay does not an emergency make.

Also, for those who like to scamper out — and again, squeeze through a row of people — the millisecond the curtain falls, Vosmeier has something to say that we should all take to heart.

“The show isn’t over until the cast has left the stage. So often, audience members rush out during curtain call and that’s still a part of the show, and it shows disrespect for the actors. I understand trying to beat the crowd, but it interferes with other people’s experience. (The cast) has poured their hearts out for three hours, and they deserve that respect.”

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THEATER PREVIEW

“Hamilton”

Tuesday-June 10 (times vary). $211.50-$641.50. There is a four-ticket limit per order. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 1-855-285-8499, foxtheatre.org. Digital lotteries will be held two days prior to each performance. During the lotteries, 40 tickets will be sold for every show for $10 each. Visit hamiltonmusical.com/lottery for details.


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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.