The Best Seats in a Theatre

By Michael Norman

Tickets for some of today's hottest theatre shows are getting increasingly expensive, so it's important to know a few key facts when booking tickets so that you get the best seats for your money.

Misconceptions

Many people mistakenly believe that the front row seats are the best in the entire theatre. These seats often require audience members to crane their necks, and can offer little leg room.

Best Seats

The very best seats in a theatre are often in the central orchestra between rows five and 12. Anything further back and you may face reduced sight lines due to an overhanging mezzanine or balcony.

Next Best Thing

Beyond the pricey orchestra seats, another great option are seats in front of the mezzanine. Due to the mezzanine overhanging the orchestra anywhere between rows 12 and 20, your seats may even be closer to the stage than more expensive orchestra seats.

Considerations

If you are seeing a show in a non-traditional venue, such as an arena or smaller "black box" theatre, you will want seats as close to the front as possible. To find out which type of theatre your show is in, you can always ask at the box office or check the seating chart (see Resources below)

Fun Fact

Most theatre critics are given seats in the center orchestra around row five. This provides an excellent view of the production and allows critics to get out easily to make deadlines.

About the Author

A 2002 graduate of Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish studies, Michael Norman was born in the UK and has also lived in Madrid, Spain, Durham N.C. and now Pinehurst N.C. He has directed and performed in a large number of theatrical productions, including work at Shakespeare's Globe in London as a Globe Scholar.