Taking a Stand Against Standing Ovations
Thursday, August 17, 2017  •  
Thu Aug 17, 2017  •  
Broadway  •   96 comments Share This
I realize that standing ovations are subjective. It's the lemminglike rise of everyone in the house that seems disingenuous.

Does every show really deserve one?


I can't remember the last time I went to a Broadway show that didn't receive a standing ovation -- even though, in my opinion, many didn't earn it. I get it -- for lots of people in the audience going to the theatre is a special (and expensive) occasion, so they're eager to jump up at the end to confirm they've just seen something truly exceptional. But here's the thing: You expect to see a certain level of talent on Broadway. So while I always applaud with varying degrees of enthusiasm, I rarely rise. I believe standing ovations should be reserved for superlative experiences, not just a job well done.

When I saw Hamilton, there was no way I could sit in my chair. I was so impressed that I leapt to my feet at curtain call. And I caught it in previews Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, so this was before all the hype! In that case, I was standing for both the performers and the musical itself. If I'm so-so on a show but I think one of the actors gave an amazing performance, I tend to stay seated and just cheer a little louder during his individual bow.

Of course I realize that standing ovations are totally subjective. If I think a show stinks but my date wants to get up, I hope he does -- even if he turns out to be the only one. It's the lemminglike rise of everyone in the house that seems disingenuous.

It also feels a bit like bullying. While I know I can continue to sit even if everyone else stands (as I often do), if I don't follow suit, I risk coming off as a grinch. It also means I can't see the curtain call. So I miss the actors' reactions to the crowd, or sometimes even an extra number. That's why I've taken to what I call hovering: I close my seat and perch atop it so I have a better view without actually getting all the way up.

I'm certainly not the first person to complain about this. Critics, audiences, and even artists have been griping about this phenomenon for over a decade now. As an On Stage Blog writer brilliantly observed, "standing ovations have become the participation ribbons of live performance," so ultimately they seem meaningless. I do find that there's a notable exception: standing ovations during a show. This past season, Glenn Close earned one after singing "As If We Never Said Goodbye" in Sunset Boulevard, and Bette Midler got one as she descended the staircase at Harmonia Gardens in Hello, Dolly!. While I suspect these were nightly occurrences, at least they felt spontaneous. Even though I personally didn't stand and wanted to get on with the show, I appreciated that the crowd was so pumped they couldn't help but pop up en masse.

So stand up…or sit down. Just consider the reasons you're doing it.

Are you quick to give standing ovations? Let us know in the comments.


Linda Buchwald tweets about theatre at @PataphysicalSci. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.

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TheNYG said:
I agree wholeheartedly and do the "hover" too. I find some standing ovations to be disingenuous, especially when it is a premeditated, self-fulfilling prophecy by patrons who justify their investment to see said show.
Posted on 8/18/2017 at 10:26 AM
rich geiger said:
They stand because they must justify the price of the ticket. At those prices, the associated cash outlays of parking and sitters etc, and the time involvement to see a show, they give it a standing ovation to justify their effort. Be glad they bought the tickets. Asses in seats my boy, asses in seats.
Posted on 8/18/2017 at 4:59 PM
Glory B said:
OMG this again. Seriously, we get it - you're superior. (You attended Hamilton before it was a thing!) The only thing more annoying than everybody leaping to their feet are the pretentious snobs defiantly remaining in their seats - arms folded, I presume. As 1st World problems go, even this one takes the cake. Theatre is important and can effect change - but not if we snivel about BS like this.
Posted on 8/18/2017 at 5:45 PM
Reynaldi Lolong said:
I can't believe we're even taking the time to discuss this. Let theater move people to do what they want and deal with it. Whether you (or anyone else) thinks the show earned is completely irrelevant to the rest of the audience. You want to sit? Sit. If you feel insecure about that that is entirely your fault.
Posted on 8/18/2017 at 6:59 PM
Joshua Walitt said:
I agree. It certainly does feel like the participation ribbon on the theatre. It loses its meaning.
Posted on 8/18/2017 at 8:28 PM
Meryl said:
I agree wholeheartedly. It gets me crazed when people are jumping up for average shows and average performances. Clapping is deserved no matter what . Standing Os are for exceptional performances! In London they used to follow that. Wondering if they jump for everything now to?
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 8:35 AM
John Lynch said:
I've just decided to stay seated at performances that I feel don't deserve it, only rising near the end to catch a glimpse of the performers or to get to the stairway before others. I don't reserve them for only superlative productions though; if an actor has touched me by his or her performance or some other facet of the production is deserving in my opinion, I will stand at some point.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 8:35 AM
Suzanne said:
Yes, there is bullying. At Lincoln Center I watched a man a few rows below ripping into a woman who (like me) was applauding but failing to stand. I'm glad to hear of the hover manoeuvre, a good compromise (and defensive tactic).
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 8:39 AM
Marie said:
I wholeheartedly agree! If a standing ovation is given for every show, how do we acknowledge the truly superlative performance??
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 8:40 AM
Benita Black said:
I resent not being able to enjoy the bows and curtain calls. What takes the cake is that often - yes, often - I am seated next to someone who has not applauded at any time during a musical but gets up for a standing o. The standing o is not a thing off- and off-off Bway. Yet.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 8:48 AM
bob mclaughlin said:
Maybe those folks who give an automatic standing "O" should see more shows to see what really deserves an standing "O". At times I feel as though people giving the "O" have not seen outstanding talent on stage.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 8:54 AM
Hilary Cartwright said:
The expectation that everyone will rise to their feet at the end of even a mediocre performance is depressing both for the srtists who would prefer an honest assessment, and other audience members who are not snobs but have a respect for what can truly be regarded as an ovation winning performance. I too remain seated, and feel an understanding of what performance is about is totally lost on most
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 8:59 AM
Valerie Ci said:
Getting your knickers in a twist about whether to stand automatically or out of true delight is irrelevant to my enjoyment and appreciation of any kind of performance. I like it, I love it, it's a meh so-so experience. I trust my own response. On occasion, I have leapt to my feet - a spontaneous response. But I always applaud - a lot of work and dedication goes into a production.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:00 AM
Kate McLeod said:
I couldn't agree more. And I do think it is a result of how much people pay for a ticket these days, rather than acknowledging a breakout show or a performance that moves us organically and emotionally to rise. And that people respond to the audience around them by doing what others do instead of responding to the show. But the culture of rising for whatever has taken over. Like phones on. Ugh.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:20 AM
Lynn Janovsky said:
I couldn't agree more, and get very grumpy when I am forced to stand to see the curtain call. It's cheap and cheesy and demonstrates a complete lack of depth of understanding of the way the theater works, as well as what is great and what is fine.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:22 AM
david newer said:
I'm with this 100%, so tired of everyone standing like sheep...it's like "here we go again." Or, "Maybe the star of the show will see me stand first and never forget my face!" ridiculous.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:22 AM
Margaret Spiegel said:
It makes me absolutely crazy that at the end of a show, people are standing up to clap. A fabulous show should get a standing ovation or a fabulous performer. What seems to be happening is that most people are doing it just so they can get out quicker. As a result, it has lost its significance.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:23 AM
Ina said:
Standing ovations should be reserved for extraordinary occasions. Enthusiastic applause should suffice. Difficult for old people like me to stand at the end of a performance. Standees obscure the performers (to the "sitees") who deserve to be seen and acknowledged by all. ENCORES! audiences, older and experienced, few tourists, rarely stand.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:33 AM
Susan Mullen said:
I agree with you. It's sort of an epidemic now and almost expected. But perhaps the audience is standing because they have been so uncomfortable in their small(er-and-smaller) seats, and it gives them a chance to stretch! I rarely stand, and find the practice annoying.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:45 AM
Kathleen H said:
Linda is right on target. I believe the dramatist, the producers, the directors, the set, lighting, and sound experts, the cast, and the crew all deserve recognition for their efforts, so I always applaud, even if I have not enjoyed a play. I stand, however, only when I have seen what I believe to be an extraordinary play and/or performance. If we always stand, how do we mark real excellence?
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:47 AM
E. Berg said:
I totally agree with Linda. I remember when a standing ovation really meant a great deal, and was memorable. There are other ways to show enthusiasm for a show such as enthusiastic clapping and cries of "bravo" or other, and still feel like you got your money's worth. Like Linda, I believe it is inconsiderate to those who do not or cannot stand and miss seeing the curtain calls.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:51 AM
Rich said:
Glory B.- I don't think the only two options are standing Os and sitting, grinch-like, with arms folded. I enthusiastically applaud for almost all of the many, many shows I see. But I do reserve my standing for exceptional shows or individual performances. However, I do agree - this is at the tippy-top of 1st world problems. So, stand, sit, cross arms, whatever. Just go to live theater a LOT!
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:51 AM
Loued said:
Just like life, standing ovations have changed. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. For me, it would be nice to sit during the curtain call, but I get up to see it. No big deal. But what is the purpose of showing your displeasure of a show - why don't you "boo"? I think it's equal to telling your friend who loved the show how much you hated it. It's just not kind.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 9:54 AM
Lydia said:
I agree wholeheartedly that standing ovations are overdone in New York City theaters. I'm forced to stand when everyone around is standing as I like to see the actors taking their curtain call. There are many excellent productions and performers on Broadway, but very few deserve a "standing ovation," which in my early days of theater-going meant an extraordinary production.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 10:11 AM
Robert Landau said:
I recently visited Washington DC and saw an amazing production of An Octoroo. The actor who played the playwright, named John Hudson Odom gave an outstanding performance. He is not a star or a "name" by any means, but the audience, the night I was there, was so thrilled by his performance that they (and I) needed to give him a standing ovation. It seemed totally spontaneous and deserving.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 10:20 AM
Garrett Glaser said:
This piece is 20 years late.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 10:21 AM
Peter K. said:
I totally agree. Standing ovations have become absolutely meaningless. These days they seem to occur at every performance, be it on Broadway, the opera or concert halls.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 10:22 AM
Bo Hahn said:
I would prefer to calibrate the applause according to the level of performance and stay seated to watch the curtain calls instead of reluctantly standing up so I can see past the robots in front of me.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 10:29 AM
Dlady said:
Thanks for the "hovering" recommendation. I'll use it as a compromise next time I'm not pulled to my feet for a standing ovation or sitting to silently voice "it could have been a bit better."
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 10:37 AM
Joanne T. said:
The standing "O" is way over done. If you don't stand, you are Scrooge but to make matters worse, you cannot see the cast as everyone in front of you is standing & blocking your view. It has come to me nothing anymore. I have been going to NYC theater some 40 years and feel we have entered a tourist zone where mediocre is hailed. What happens when something really great comes along? Well
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 10:40 AM
J. Yavroyan said:
Standing ovations used to mean something. They used to be reserved for only the most extraordinary performances.They have now been so cheapened that they mean nothing, absolutely nothing.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 10:48 AM
Noreen said:
Standing O's have begun to feel obligatory regardless of whether it is deserved. I sit even if all around me are standing and clap to show my appreciation.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 11:05 AM
Michael said:
Agreed! They are meaningless now...but wait! Maybe now they mean "yea it's over, my legs are sore and my back hurts and thank God I can finally stand up and move again"??
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 11:05 AM
M Nebbia said:
Standing O. Should be once in a blue moon. Its ridiculous and meaningless at this point.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 11:09 AM
DSM said:
Perhaps it is a form of escape--rather than horrible priorities--to get so worked up over this while the victims of Charlottesville and Barcelona are freshly mourning. Many standing ovations are simply the result of the audience welcoming the first chance to stand up from narrow theater seats and begin the process of leaving--and many tourists have actually never seen a better show.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 11:15 AM
Vivian said:
Everyone will spontaneously react in the end, but if my view is closed I will stand up anyway as I applaud to the curtain call whatsoever. All shows deserve the acknowledgement in the end. I also agree with Glory B --why this even matters? It's personal so we should express our feelings as we wish
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 11:16 AM
Janette said:
Absolutely agree! It used to be thrilling to be part of a standing ovation for an extraordinary actor or show. Now it means nothing. What can we do for the truly deserving? Stand on our seats? Storm the stage, flowers in hand? We'll wind up in a security choke hold! The only time I voluntarily stood recently was for Indecent, where I led the Standing O. It was brilliant and touched me deeply.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 11:33 AM
Madeline said:
I more than agree. They mean nothing. I have been going to the theatre for many years, and the first performance I saw that warranted a standing O was James Earl Jones in "The Great White Hope." Standing O's should be reserved for performances that truly shine. If they are given for every performance of every show, they are worthless.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 11:36 AM
TG said:
In opera & even some Broadway shows I have attended over the past 55 years, a phenomenal singer, actor or production number can & will "bring down the house" & cause a S.O. One might wonder if this author simply mistakes an S.O for what is simply a reaction to a lousy show when folks can't wait to leave the theater. That's when I stand up quickly, clap politely & fight the crowd to make an exit!
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 11:46 AM
Linda Kahler said:
I saw My Fair Lady as a child with both Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. Guess what???? No Standing ovation though it certainly deserved it more than some of the dreck around these days.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 12:25 PM
C.A. Hutton said:
My way around an undeserved standing ovation when I can't see the stage because others are standing and blocking my view is to stop applauding when I feel forced to stand.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 12:25 PM
Ron McGowan said:
I'm standing and clapping for this!! Bravo!!! Encore, encore!!!!
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 12:37 PM
Sally K said:
Think of the actors! If everyone in the class got an A, how would it feel? Does it motivate to do better? Program notes should give some guidance to the audience. They've done it with cellphones, candy wrappers, etc. Audiences need help to understand the value of standing ovations and meaning to the actors.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 1:07 PM
Joan Tosh said:
I don't know how to acknowledge a truly extraordinary experience any more. On Broadway everyone stands at the end of a show regardless of the quality of the performances. When I watch "The Tonight Show", Jimmy Fallon always gets a standing ovation. But more boxy, every guest get a standing O even when no one in the audience knows the guest's name - a sign of the times.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 1:35 PM
Jane D said:
I totally agree that standing ovations have lost their meaning because they have become so common place now. They should be reserved for the exceptional show and/or performance.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 1:43 PM
Nancy said:
Thank you for raising this issue...it's bothered me for years. I, too, worry that I'll be perceived as a sourpuss if I don't stand--even if I'm applauding enthusiastically, but I think that standing ovations should be reserved for a show or performance that's truly extraordinary.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 2:18 PM
llana arrott wyman said:
I am so sick of people standing up to give these standing ovations, to all . How stupid,...half the shows are not even good enough to receive this kind of blind adulation. I can only surmise that they no longer recognize real acting ability as against none . DO these sheep care? apart from all this there are alot of older people whose view they block, who cant stand.SIT DOWN SHEEP DONT BE BLIND!!!
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 2:27 PM
Ken said:
If you attend theatre in the UK, standing is reserved for the very best, the highest quality. Standing ovation during have become very popular. Color purple, something rotten,sunset, even bandstand (just a couple of times). I think it's a combination of participation award and an inability to be able to tell the very good from the truly great.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 2:40 PM
Harry D said:
Another wholehearted agreement. Pity the outstanding performances (and performers) who are deprived of the opportunity to be uniquely appreciated. The contagion of automatic standing ovations is largely an American disease. We attend performances around the world, and, fortunately, this epidemic seems to be constrained to North America -- the only reason can think of to build a border wall.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 2:44 PM
kkee said:
I like to stand to show my appreciation to the artists and to just stretch my legs after 2 hours of sitting down!
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 2:50 PM
Sunny said:
I see standers at all performances and I think people have different reasons, some mentioned above. In small venues I think many of them are relatives of the performers. Some may want to be seen. Maybe they think it's the thing to do. If undeserved, it annoys me as a short person usually sitting in the rear of a theatre, as I'm forced to stand to see the cast. Don't see this changing soon.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 3:43 PM
diane mcdonnell said:
Right on, Linda. What's left for a superlative performance -- climbing on the seats? I, too, usually remain seated unless the performance or play moves me -- and it MUST move me. I raise my arms to applaud, occasionally come out with a 'bravo' or 'yahoo'. All while remaining seated. At times I suspect the first to rise is a shil, and then many others do the lemming thing.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 4:08 PM
Robert D said:
I agree. Too many productions receive standing ovations these days. It should be reserved for truly outstanding performances and not be an automatic response. In London, it is much rarer for a performance to receive a standing ovation.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 5:32 PM
Clara said:
If a person wants to show he/she likes the show a lot let show it by standing up, but not because somebody else stand up
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 6:21 PM
Barry L said:
".....Let theater move people to do what they want and deal with it. Whether you (or anyone else) thinks the show earned is completely irrelevant to the rest of the audience. You want to sit? Sit. If you feel insecure about that that is entirely your fault......" I could not disagree more. There is absolutely no reason that my view of bowing performers should be blocked by standees.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 6:22 PM
Julie R said:
I agree 100%. I go to the theater a lot. I show my appreciation with applause. I'm short and hate having to stand for a middling performance just to be able to see the curtain call - which I ALWAYS stay for because regardless of the quality of the show, I appreciate how much work goes into to producing it. Standing O's should be reserved for the best of the best. They have become meaningless.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 7:22 PM
John Farrell said:
I just saw 1984. The cast got its de rigueur standing ovation. The same happened last week at War Paint. I can't recall any play I've seen in the last 15 years where this didn't occur. I can't stand it. It cheapens the evening. The audience has no means to express appreciation for a stellar performance. So, I sit and clap. Kudos to the TDF! At 1984 I was lucky and got a seat first row dress circle
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 8:21 PM
Emily goodman said:
Standing ovations are like the now -common clapping when a pilot lands a plane. They're not reserved for outstanding performance, but rather that the show or flight are completed.
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 8:44 PM
bob reiss said:
Totally agree with Linda. How do we reverse the curse of the standing "O"?
Posted on 8/19/2017 at 10:19 PM
Ilene G said:
I totally agree with Linda and have been plagued by this for years and feel it's only getting worse! A standing ovation should be a wonderfully spontaneous and sincere moment prompted by an unusually WONDERFUL performance- not simply an excellent professional production that lived up to your expectations! Wouldn't that be more appreciated by the actors as well? Let's put the meaning back into it!
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 1:12 AM
Paul M. said:
That's where we are at in this country - "everyone is a winner" - giving ALL kids "embossed certificates of participation" even if they do mediocre work. Remember when s.o. was reserved for the best of the best.
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 7:13 AM
Joseph said:
this seems to be a New York City phenomenon. in Chicago if a show gets a standing ovation you know you saw something special however on Broadway if a show gets a standing ovation you know it's over
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 12:51 PM
Kathleen Butler said:
I totally agree with Linda, I remain seated unless I have witnessed a stellar performance. And I have been called a snob even by my friends. A standing ovation for anything less than outstanding is comparable to children getting a trophy just for participating in a sport. Applaud, whistle, shout, depending on the type of entertainment. But save the standing O for true greatness.
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 2:04 PM
Pat Lamb said:
What she said. It's the thespian version of all kids getting a ribbon at awards'night. Worthy of a standing ovation: Brian Stokes Mitchell in "Kiss Me Kate," Jefferson Mays in "A Gentleman's Guide," Kate Burton in "Hapgood," Glynis Johns in "A Little Night Music." If you can't see the performer/s in your mind's eye decades later, you should have kept your seat.
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 3:37 PM
Helene said:
At the Met Opera, in the far-up Family Circle, 4th row on the left side, the woman in front of me stood to show the performers that she appreciated them. But it's for sure they couldn't see her. Thanks for the hovering tip, though!
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 3:55 PM
J in SD said:
If I feel a show is truly worthy of a standing ovation, I'll leap to my feet immediately. That has happened only a few times. Competence and skill are EXPECTED in theatre -- they don't need to be extravagantly rewarded (you've already rewarded them by helping them get paid. I'm not a curmudgeon, but I'm not going to go wild just because people walked onstage and remembered their lines.
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 4:32 PM
MoodyMama said:
My theory is that it began with the bus and tunnel crowd wanting to get out of the theater before the mad rush. It has now become a disingenuous, pathetic display of reward. But what can you expect from people who wear flip-flops and shorts to the theater who treat it like their living rooms, munch on candy and slurp drinks all throughout? The woman next to me at "Indecent" was vaping. Argh!
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 5:29 PM
Mark Kessinger said:
I agree that standing ovations now occur so routinely as to render them utterly meaningless. But I think it has something to do with the ticket prices. When people shell out anywhere from $150 to $1,600 PER SEAT, you better believe they're going to give it a standing ovation!
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 8:16 PM
Virginia said:
I agree completely. I've often wondered if it is just tourists who don't know any better. Trouble is, once some people stand, the rest have to stand if they want to see the curtain call. I just sit and don't worry if people think I'm a grinch. Most people probably don't care since they are just trying to see the curtain call. I may try your hover next time.
Posted on 8/20/2017 at 10:40 PM
Patricia said:
This caught my eye because some theater goers seem to have little respect for what is appropriate audience behavior. The unwarranted Standing O which forces everyone in the audience to stand up is just one. How about those who reserve the right to light up their devices, no matter how distracting it might be to others or who run out before the end blocking others' view. Manners matter.
Posted on 8/21/2017 at 10:18 AM
Albert said:
As a theater professional, I find the automatic standing ovation not only distracting when I'm attending a show, but also disconcerting when on I'm on stage. When my Company gets an audience to its feet while on tour, I'm never sure whether it is a true sign of appreciation for our efforts or a knee jerk reaction following a current trend.
Posted on 8/21/2017 at 10:35 AM
Mike G said:
It ruins the authenticity when there's nothing at stake. Absolutely, there have been times I've shot up and clapped hard til the very end. I can't even count how many times that's happened. And the production earned every clap. But those are the standouts. A Doll's House Part 2 - Stood. The play itself is brilliant; the cast nailed it; the who production was a bulls eye.
Posted on 8/21/2017 at 11:23 AM
Mike G said:
To continue: That could EASILY have gone off the rails. Updating a classic and delivering on target deserve something special. On the other hand, the audience I was in gave one to Forrest Whittaker in Hughe - which SUCKED! Terrible to the point that I was angry that a great film actor was so off. They gave him one because of him and not his work. BAD
Posted on 8/21/2017 at 11:25 AM
Jim said:
The standing ovation is ridiculous and should be discouraged so it can be reserved for truly exceptional breath-taking performances
Posted on 8/21/2017 at 5:03 PM
Richard Van Deusen said:
As a theater professional, who has experienced maybe half a dozen performances that warranted standing ovations over the last 50 years, I find the audience need to leap to it's feet at the end of play to be demeaning to both the cast, and the performance itself. I first attributed to the need for the bridge and tunnel crowd to catch their trains home. Now it is just herd instinct of no value.
Posted on 8/21/2017 at 6:37 PM
Heidi Mc. said:
I wholeheartedly agree Linda. It's getting to be ridiculous. The audience at Al Pacino's China Doll gave him a standing O. He was absolutely terrible, and so was the play itself, but I guess just being Pacino is worthy of a standing O. What nonsense. And as a not very tall person, I resent having to stand just to see the curtain calls. This has got to stop--- but fat chance it will.
Posted on 8/21/2017 at 10:07 PM
Jeannette Paladino said:
I agree that standing ovations have become meaningless. I feel forced to stand because I do want to see the performers take their bows and sometimes give us a little extra entertainment. But I feel for the actor(s) who truly deserve a standing ovation and don't get one because even the lowliest bit player gets an ovation, too. There's nothing to be done about it, I'm afraid. It's already engrained
Posted on 8/21/2017 at 10:35 PM
Harry Matthews said:
I, too, am sick and tired of the Standing O. I have been attending theatre, dance, and opera for 60-odd years. Having seen literally thousands of performances, I can distinguish the good from the truly awful, the "interesting" from the truly extraordinary and respond accordingly. Clap always, stand rarely. The SO crowd is mostly people who have experienced little theatre but fall under its spell.
Posted on 8/22/2017 at 11:49 AM
Gershon said:
Standing ovations are akin to selfies: recalling such to someone later magnifies the importance of one having been there. It is not enough to just enjoy the performance; it is imperative that it was worthy of a standing ovation and you were there! Mediocrity rules!
Posted on 8/22/2017 at 2:57 PM
Rebecca Waldman said:
How about a thoroughly deserved standing O in the middle of a show? Cynthia Erivo's I'M HERE solo. I sprung from my chair!
Posted on 8/25/2017 at 8:23 PM
Gregory said:
Standing ovations are indeed pretty ridiculous when overdone. Just look at the United States Congress during a State of the Union speech or visit by a foreign dignitary. I still remember how Lech Walesa laughed at them all, embarrassed and nonplussed.
Posted on 9/5/2017 at 6:39 AM
Marina said:
Standing O has become meaningless and insincere. It's like saying "I love you" all the time to everyone for everything.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:30 AM
Roz said:
Standing ovations are great! Gives me the time to leave the theater quickly so I can get to the Port Authority bus terminal to catch the next bus home. Thanks!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:02 PM
E. Berg said:
I appreciate all the comments critical of a standing for every performance. I have been to some wonderful performances where I could not stay in my seat at the end, but if it's done after every performance, it looses its meaning and significance. In addition, it is rude and inconsiderate of the people who do not want to stand, or cannot stand, and are deprived of seeing the curtain calls.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 7:33 PM
Joat said:
The closing line says it all for me: "So stand up…or sit down. Just consider the reasons you're doing it." My only real unhappiness with the ubiquity of standing ovations is that of not being able to express gratitude for true greatness because the superlative has become, well, non-superlative.
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 5:21 PM
Carole said:
My husband and I (40s) have been going to shows for decades. We thought it was just a lack of sophistication - and a worsening trend - in Sactown! Even young band performers are getting a standing O now. We roll our eyes and reluctantly pull ourselves out of our seats so as not to appear disgruntled. Yes, this is "20 years past," but still should only be a way to honor a stellar performance.
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 6:51 PM
Susie said:
I am in total agreement. All of my theater loving friends feel the same way. Even if the show was not even a decent production, the second the curtain goes down, everyone stands so that when the curtain goes up for the finale, the actors see everyone on their feet clapping their hands. Even the people in the first row!
Posted on 8/30/2018 at 4:11 PM
GSalaz said:
Yeah, me too
Posted on 9/25/2018 at 8:59 PM
Kent said:
Standing for average performances forces everyone else to stand, just to see what's going on. You wouldn't stand and block my view during the performance; what gives you the right to do so afterward. You can judge me for remaining seated while applauding; just know it goes both ways. I'm judging you for being so weak-willed and lemming-like.
Posted on 1/6/2019 at 11:51 AM
Stephanie Long said:
This is my biggest complaint with Broadway shows. I’m trying to teach my daughter to appreciate a performance that rises above the rest. A standing ovation every time, for me, simply raises the level to mediocre. I’m not a theater snob but someone who feels that giving that standing ovation means this show rises above the rest.
Posted on 4/4/2019 at 9:57 AM
ETF said:
I saw Stephen Sondheim in a conversation at the Museum of Broadcasting and he stated he felt the standing ovation had lost all meaning. He said he felt it was the audience saying ‘Hurray for us! We spent an outrageous amount of money for tickets! We are here at this exclusive event!’ He compared it to a conversation he heard at a party that was about the great seats not the quality of the show.
Posted on 4/7/2019 at 11:11 AM
jesse said:
i agree with what Susie said you should always stand and give a warm ovation because the creators spent a lot of time making the play and u should show respect no matter if its a good play or amazing
Posted on 7/2/2019 at 9:18 PM
Mitch said:
Two things: 1. If the person in front of me stands, I have to stand to see the stage. 2. Most Broadway theater seats are short on leg room. As soon as I am permitted to stand I do.
Posted on 2/14/2020 at 2:21 PM
Lesley said:
I couldn't agree more. And I am completely repulsed by the person (presumably not the same person at every performance, but there is ALWAYS one in the audience) who yells "Bravo!!!" at the Metropolitan Opera as soon as the last note finishes. It clearly has nothing to do with the performance. It is a contest to yell first and be heard throughout the house. Ugh.
Posted on 2/16/2020 at 12:36 AM
Isabelle Katz said:
The last time I gave a standing ovation was for Margaret Leighton in Separate Tables and that was a long long time ago. She was so overwhelming that the audience reacted to her portrayal of the character and hissed at the character, she was that good.
Posted on 3/7/2020 at 8:16 AM
Alicia Gregorio said:
It is not just a customary response after the show. It is a sign of respect and appreciation for the performers that give them encouragement,recognition and/or satisfaction for the hard work they put in for the show . I do the same for school plays where our kids are participants. May it be perfect or they are off or missed parts does not matter at all.Bravo for the effort & courage to be on it
Posted on 3/23/2020 at 1:51 AM
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