I Know You Love That Musical, But Please Don't Sing Along
By ERIKA GOULD
Wednesday, August 22, 2018  •  
Wed Aug 22, 2018  •  
Musicals  •   117 comments Share This
"As an avid theatregoer, I pay top dollar to hear the pros perform, not the stranger in Row E."

The theatre is not your shower or a karaoke bar

---

Has this ever happened to you at a Broadway musical? House lights dim, stage lights go up, actors begin singing the opening number… and so does the audience? Personally I find this trend disheartening, and it seems to get worse every season. As an avid theatregoer, I pay top dollar to hear the pros perform, not the stranger in Row E. I understand the impulse, of course. I too have seen many musicals that I know lyric for lyric. But while I don't mind if someone silently mouths the words, you shouldn't raise your voice in song.

I once overheard a theatregoer singing along at The Phantom of the Opera; it really tested my patience, and she was no Christine Daaé. Even hearing about singing along secondhand makes me cringe. About six months into Hamilton's Broadway run, I was chatting with a man at the stage door who bragged that his kids sang along during the performance because they loved the original cast recording so much. While I admired their enthusiasm for the show, I hated the way they expressed it.

Singing along seems most rampant at jukebox musicals featuring well-known pop songs such as Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and the Go-Go's Head Over Heels. Perhaps that's why Summer: The Donna Summer Musical dispenses with traditional audience etiquette and actually encourages people to sing and dance! I know that's the norm at pop concerts, but usually the sound system is so loud you can't hear the fans. Theatre is a different medium with a different set of expectations, which, until recently, included the rule that everyone should STHU.

Unfortunately, like cell phones ringing in the audience, I fear singing along is the new normal, but there are ways to corral it. Recent revivals of Pippin and Hedwig and the Angry Inch had numbers when the audience was prompted to sing along on specific lines, which was quite fun. And the West End production of the Meat Loaf-inspired musical Bat Out of Hell recently announced special sing-along performances featuring the lyrics projected on a screen.

Perhaps in the future, so many audiences will be singing along that musicals will have to host "quiet performances" akin to the quiet cars on Metro-North. Until then I beg you: Choose silence. If you absolutely must sing along, book a karaoke room instead of a Broadway show.

---

Erika Gould is an editorial and advertising writer who is passionate about theatre.

TDF Members: Go here to browse our latest discounts for theatre, dances and concerts.




Share This:
117 Comments:
Gil said:
The people who create/perform a Broadway or off or off-off Broadway musical OWN it. If they permit a sing-along, the public should know that so individuals may decide if they want to be a part of or endure that. Today, we have a real people's theater - you can take or make calls, unwrap your sandwich, and chat with a friend during a "Pinter pause" in a production. All good I am sure. But nuts.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 9:43 AM
Jim said:
This question should not even have to be asked. Of course the audience should not sing along during the show. The audience should sit in its seats and enjoy what is happening on the stage and not try to become part of the performance. I guess I am a curmudgeon but I yearn for the good old days when audiences were not participatory except to applaud at the end of the show.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 9:45 AM
Walter Foery said:
Absolutely, leave the singing for the ride home in the car (unless it’s Metro North’s quiet Car). I agree with Erika; I paid to hear professional singers, not strangers.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 9:46 AM
marilyn goldberg said:
i guess i have been LUCKY.....i was never disturbed or heard over zealous singing in the audience.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 9:46 AM
Daniel Guss said:
One never wants to discourage anyone's enjoyment of music; however, there may be people for whom the music is new, and who have the right to come to it without the distraction of someone else's enthusiasm. At a pop concert, as in church, it's about the community; in the theatre, it's a mix of communal and individual, and boundaries should be observed.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 9:48 AM
Theresa said:
I have seen Beautiful and Head Over Heels and both shows seemed to invite the audience to sing along during the finale number. It was fun to do so as both shows performed my favorite music. However I do think that an audience member should refrain from singing along when the performer is singing onstage. It seems obvious when performers want the audience to sing along and when they don't.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 9:50 AM
Agatha Owens said:
People should absolutely NOT sing along at Broadway Shows. It is very unfair to others who have paid good money to see and hear the talent on the stage, not the audience, unless it is part of the show and they have been requested to do so.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 9:54 AM
LaVerne said:
I just saw Smoky Joe’s Cafe. From the start the audience started singing along with the cast. It was a fun night and the cast was given a standing ovation. No one gave a damm and the cast even came into the audience which encouraged more singing along with them. A fun night had by all.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:02 AM
Amanda said:
I’m sure many people look forward to singing along in these shows as part of the experience of going out with friends or family and spending all that money, in the mode of this all inclusive plan for their evening. If they’ve gotten used to it as part of the event, it would be hard to give it up for them. This is just a new wave of theater goer who may not represent the traditional theater goer
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:02 AM
Jenn said:
Argh, it's definitely on the rise. And a huge pet peeve for me. Unless you're at the Donna Summer show...shut it!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:14 AM
Marcia said:
Sometimes I am so taken hearing the old favorites ex. from Beautiful and Head Over Heels that I will sing softly to myself. I can’t help it! I don’t disturb anyone and if I did I am sorry. At the finale of HOH they seemed to encourage people to get up and sing, which I did, and the woman behind me told me to sit down. I wasn’t happy. You can’t please everyone!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:15 AM
Grey said:
If people start singing at shows and are off-key, I think it is only fair that they get pelted with tomatoes. Slightly kidding. The audience shouldn't be permitted or think that they can join in and sing along unless asked. Save that for the car ride home. I know that I paid to hear and enjoy the talent that has spent a lot of time and energy perfecting their roles. It's disrespectful to all.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:15 AM
JerryV said:
Since they are paying for tickets, people should be allowed to sing along. (This has sometimes been encouraged by the House, as in "Once in Love with Amy" in "Where's Charley".) But why stop there? Can't we dance in the aisles during production numbers? And since I can't find anyone with whom to play my saxophone at home, why can't can't I bring it and play along with the orchestra?
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:17 AM
Lisa Molho said:
Are you Kidd me??!!! I totally agree with Ms. Gould. How rude! As others have stated, I pay to enjoy a musical to hear the pros sing not some off key jerk sitting next to me. I pretty much know all the lyrics to all the Rodgers & Hammerstein shows and many others. It would never occur to me to join in., Many times at revivals, that the offenders are elderly people who can’t hear well.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:17 AM
Tom Dudzick said:
There is only one instance where it is appropriate for the audience to sing along with Broadway musicals, and that is when the actor turns to the audience and shouts, "Everybody!" Other than that, singing along is rude, selfish and just plain spoils it for the other guy.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:19 AM
Michael said:
Only if asked to do so.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:19 AM
Tas Speyer said:
I am disabled and it is difficult for me to go to the theater. When I go, the last thing I want to hear is someone singing who is not the professional performer I paid and look forward to seeing/hearing. As a lifelong theater goer, I have seen theater ettiquette go down the drain. People bring sandwiches, talk during a performance and more. What a shame!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:23 AM
Ella said:
I think it is completely disrespectful to fellow theater goers. Just last night I left “Carousel” after intermission because the 4 people behind me sang and hummed along, and had full on discussions about choreography and the set. Asked them to stop, they did not. What a waste of my money and time. Ugh.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:27 AM
John Cave said:
No NO NO NO!! In fact in addition to the no cell phone warning at the beginning of a musical, the warning should include NO singing along and eat your lunch or dinner before coming to the show, not during!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:29 AM
Barry Childs said:
If you attend a performance of Richard III, would you want to hear people around you recite "Now is the winter of our discontent..." and every other famous section? I think not. Why would that be different for a musical? Leave your self-absorbed "I wanna be a Broadway star too" at home. And turn off your phone. Be a real person.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:37 AM
Barbara Thau said:
In the theater, most people want to experience the talented performers. I have never heard voices comparable to those of the performers when I am at the theater. Listen while at the theater and sing along with your records, family and friends when at home.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:39 AM
Lawrence said:
I am in agreement to a degree. I sing and do music production. When I go to musicals, I will sing along, but I know how to do so such that the person next to me does not know that I am singing. It is a form of ear singing. It is definite that the person next to you should not hear you sing along. I've been to Smokey Joe's and the truth is you can sing louder there since they belt out the sound.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:40 AM
Mervyn said:
What a ridiculous question. Of coarse not. If the performers request or encourage singing, that’s one thing — but otherwise it is an offront, an insult, and a grotesque narcissistic act for an audience member to start singing while other people are trying to enjoy the show. It is nothing more than rude, inconsiderate and ignorant behavior Which should be discouraged at all costs.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:50 AM
Donna said:
Please no singing out loud. I once saw The Three Tenors and people were singing out loud!!! Quietly mouthing the songs is much better and will calm that urge to sing.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:59 AM
Chrisse said:
I pay to hear the pros, and when that means in excess of $100, you'd better believe I'm going to be irritated if audience members sing along. Basic theatre etiquette demands that audiences be quite and respectful of not only the performers but also their fellow audience members.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:00 AM
Beverly said:
I went to see Anastasia this past weekend. In my row was someone signing loudly to the Disney numbers. I couldn't believe it. The little girl in the row in front even turned around to see who was singing. Please consider others. Unless the actors want participation please don't. It's rude and annoying.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:03 AM
Amy Chussid said:
ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:06 AM
flo said:
Community sing-alongs are lovely but NOT in the theater. Professionals are there to inspire, instruct and have worked hard to harness their art, so let's let them do their job for which we've paid quite a bit of money. For those who wish to sing their favorites, let them go to pop concerts where performers often encourage them to join in.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:07 AM
Donna DeSiena said:
I totally agree with leaving the singing to the pros. That is who I paid to hear. I had this woman next to me who knew every word to every song in Motown. I put up with it during the first half, but when she started up again in the second half, I had to ask her to please please stop.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:08 AM
Pkins said:
I am in my 70's, and as a singer, I know every word of the book and every lyric and note of songs in many show revivals. When I go to the theater, I sing along - but no sound comes out of my mouth. It is irritating when people have no cut-off valve and believe they have the right to sing, talk, or make any other disturbing noises. And let's stop all the whooping too!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:08 AM
Terry said:
No, unless invited. Can ruin the show for others.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:09 AM
Noreen said:
Happily I've never been at a performance where an audience member felt compelled to sing along; or at least not within ear shot of someone. I pay good money to hear professionals perform period. If audience participation is encouraged by the performers/part of the script that's different & should be made clear. Perhaps ushers need to add 'keep your mouth shut' to 'silence your phones'.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:16 AM
Marina said:
Unfortunately theatergoers need to be reminded of the very basic theater etiquette. A PSA i.e., turn off your cell phones, take out your candy now, refrain from singing, etc is now necessary and may help with a performance experience. Years ago I saw Mama Mia. The audience sang along quite a bit, at the encouragement of the cast. That was an exception. Concerts are for singing along.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:20 AM
Barb said:
Nothing more annoying than hearing a person behind you droning along. I turn around and give looks that can drop you in your tracks when that happens.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:22 AM
Edie said:
I love to sing along and stand and dance - but only when encouraged to do so. Then it is great fun, especially after the last bow and everyone is up. However, when someone sings along when we are trying to hear the entertainer that is rude and annoying. Recently requested a woman not sing along and she was miffed, but surrounding seatmates all agreed.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:27 AM
Courtney said:
As a rule, I absolutely think that it is totally impolite for the audience to sing along. I’ve been to many Broadway shows and had a few close to ruined by people singing. There has been only one time that it was cool and that was a production of Hamilton and the audience sang the harmony and I got chills, but for the most part, let the pros do it, please!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:30 AM
Melissa said:
If encouraged by the performers, great! Sing your heart out! Otherwise, shush! Even lip-syncing can be distracting to the performers if you're too close to the stage or you're too enthusiastic. Respect the performers and your fellow theatergoers. That's all. And to that, I'd add forgoing snacks with wrappers that make a lot of noise too (or food entirely if the show is less than three hours)
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:30 AM
Marjorie Bicknell said:
I understand the desire to sing along. I've felt it many times, but while I might mouth the words, I would never disturb my neighbors pleasure in hearing the show they've paid to see and that doesn't include me. Even when I've played the same role as the actor I'm watching, I keep my mouth shut! It's their turn, not mine. That is, unless the production INVITES you to sing along.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:33 AM
Vivian said:
I am seeing the Donna Summer Musical tomorrow and I am not happy about their policy of encouraging the audience sing. I think it is rude. We did not pay for tickets to hear the people around us. Personally, when I live the singing I mouth the words with no sound. That way I am happy and so are my neighbors at the theAter.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:38 AM
Ashley said:
Some people find themselves coming to shows to find their neighbors talking and chatting. Others come with young kids that like singing. And in some cases, the cast will encourage the audience from either Los Angelos or Las Vegas to participate. Only when the cast allow it, go for it. Be considerate of others during the show.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:40 AM
Matt said:
As a good liberal Democrat (and a pretty lapsy Catholic), I oppose capital punishment. But I'm fully prepared to make an exception for audience members who sing along. (Except when it's encouraged as part of the show, of course, and everybody knows it's coming.)
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:46 AM
Rich Mayer said:
Not sure which is worse, singing along, talking during the overture and entr’acte, applause when the star first enters or obligatory standing ovation. All experienced at the last performance I attended.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:54 AM
Liza said:
I think the suggestion to have "Sing Along performances and Quiet Performances is a good suggestion. I attended the musical Jimmy Buffet Margaretville. It would have been fun to sing along to the music.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:57 AM
Jane said:
Absolutely totally and completely NO. At those prices I pay to hear the performers. And no whooos please.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 11:58 AM
Neli Ady said:
It’s an unfortunate reflection of the time we live in when people feel it’s normal to express their ‘specialness’ regardless of where they happen to be. I not only disapprove of people singing along during a performance, they should also remain in their seats. I have seen people not only sing along, but actually stand up to do so!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:12 PM
Alfred said:
Just enjoy the show, there will be plenty of time to sing on your way home. If you are interested in singing , maybe join a local group, church or your shower !
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:16 PM
Lynn Carroll said:
When a show is a "concert" of someone's music that we all know, it is difficult to keep from singing. Afterall, we've been singing these songs forever. But, I want to hear the professionals on stage, not the amateurs in the audience. The only exception should be to sing on the encore or curtain call song...unless encouraged by the actor/s to sing during the show.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:19 PM
Liz Reddick said:
No.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:21 PM
Loren said:
People should not be inserting their voices onto a professional production. It is unfair to the performer, unfair to the rest of the audience. Great. You know all the words. Be sure to sing 'em all on your way home from the production and stop ruining it for the majority of the people laying down their hard earned dollars.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:24 PM
Darlyn said:
It just amazes me how selfish people are. The singing; the sandwiches; the cell phone use, especially when they are video taping portions of the show; the candy wrappers (oh how I hate those people) crinkling for a half hour. Take all the candy out at once you moron. Somewhere along the way consideration of others has gone to no one matters but me.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:25 PM
Linda Kahler said:
I went to see CATS during opening week. Highly anticipated and totally psyched as we had the tickets for months. Suddenly this man starts singing MEMORY along with Betty Buckley. My companion, a Vet, turned and said " I was trained to kill. I will give you pain if you do not shut up." We got to hear Betty and not Bozo. There should be shows for singer alongers to attend and not bother us.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:30 PM
Mimi said:
I agree with the writer of the article and want to bring up another source of discomfort in musical theater performances: the loud volume of the amplified sound. Once electrified instruments became the norm on Bway singers also required amplification. The sound technician controls the decibel level. Ditto in movie theaters. We now have several generations whose hearing is permanently impaired.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:37 PM
Sandy R said:
This is not a new phenomenon. Just more prevalent. Years ago I saw a Shoeboat on Broadway, and a child was singing behind me during the first act. At intermission I turned to the parents and said ‘can you please ask your child not to sing?’ The parents response was ‘but he loves the music so much.’ My response was ‘so do I and I don’t want to hear your child singing it.’
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:40 PM
Rose said:
Absolutely not! Only those on stage should be performing! The audience should be quiet & enjoying the show - not sharing! This goes for clapping along with the music. Absolutely hate when the audience chimes in. This makes the rest of us fall out of the place that the show brought us to!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:43 PM
Tyrone Wesley said:
It depends on the musical Wicked No but Hamilton and Spamalot yes! I love it when young people ( middle school-collage) know all the words and songs. We are developing an audience for the future of Broadway.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:43 PM
Shasta said:
I guess I’m shocked and I’m lucky I’ve never had that happen. When I first saw Les Mis I was in a packed house and not one person joined in. I’m glad for it, because I paid a lot of money to watch them sing for us. I am shocked people do that though. Maybe thank American Idol for allowing us all to think we are pros?? ??. If it’s a sing along show, by all means sing your heart out.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:43 PM
Lauren Scott said:
Never sing along unless asked from stage.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:47 PM
Ronni said:
This is one of the MANY reasons I HATE jukebox musicals. People behave like they are at a rock concert and not at a Broadway show. It doesn't ONLY happen at jukebox shows, but they are the main culprit.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:49 PM
Eileen said:
I totally agree with Erika Gould and all the other commenters who feel the audience should remain quiet and seated unless invited to sing along and/or stand up and dance.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 12:57 PM
Rabinowitz, Sarah said:
I wholeheartedly agree that people should not sing along with the performance. I come to hear the performance on stage not from people in the audience. It’s rude behavior and selfish on the part of the audience. Also I cannot deal with audience members standing up to applaud. They’re always in my way so I have to stand to see the show I have to stand as well. Etiquette and concern exists no more.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 1:03 PM
Helen Stavrou said:
The lullaby of Broadway has become a bad, sad and off-key love song.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 1:09 PM
Clare Cooper said:
Hell no! Your fellow audience members paid a lot of money to hear the performers, not you. And those performers worked hard to get where they are - they deserve your attention and respect. It's a shame our society has become so egocentric that people can't enjoy a performance without making it about them.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 1:17 PM
Sherry said:
Singing along at the theatre is similar to audience members talking aloud during the performance. Unfortunately, many people forget that they are not at home watching television...a place where no one cares what they do, say, or sing.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 1:31 PM
Marcia Graydon said:
Can't help myself. I LOVE Broadway musicals and once they get going, I remember ALL of the lyrics, but especially because I can't carry a tune, I keep it way down. And, I also agree that none of us should be interfering with the marvelous voices emanating from the stage.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 1:34 PM
Mary Bailey said:
Thank you, Erika Gould. Darlings, you are not just about as talented as the people on stage. Stifle yourselves.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 1:37 PM
Cathy said:
First, I say mostly no, don’t sing along. But if your encouraged to join in which is happening more in theatres all over, not just in NYC.Broadway has changed so much so the audience changed with it. How? Well a Broadway show was a treat and you respected the chance to go. The shows were magical. Now? There’s a bunch of Broadway shows that should be on off off broadway but sadly their on Broadway.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 1:57 PM
Neil Z said:
It is most definitely not cool to sing along in the theater unless specifically invited by the cast. Theater tickets are way too expensive to be disturbing fellow theatergoers. There its a difference between a community experience and a participatory one. That being said, it would be wonderful if certain performances were sold as sing-alongs, or casts encouraged sing-alongs during curtain calls.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:00 PM
Susan Durnford said:
Agree with others in that I'm paying top dollar to hear the Broadway professionals sing not the person next to/in front of/behind me. If the entertainers invite the audience to sing along...that is entirely different. But please, please keep audience singing to the shower, ride home, etc.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:05 PM
Shirley said:
NO SINGING. It's enough that people are eating Chinese take-out during intermission. Yes. It happened! And one more thing..... No leaning forward in your seat (there are people behind you), no gum chewing, no candy, no sitting arm around shoulders (geesh, get a room), and no checking your phone during the show. I think that covers it. Grrrr.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:09 PM
Len Steinbach said:
This is a question? Seems mostly a generational issue (from chatting at the movies as if watching a big TV?). As for Marcia, offended when asked to sit down while singing, it's a polite enough concession.Theater vitally depends on the unique relationships between audience and stage.Noone has the right to distract and destroy another's focus, and emotional and intellectual engagement. Period.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:10 PM
Judith Shapiro said:
There is a cinematheque in my town that has special singalong showings of famous musicals. Singing should not and does not take place at other time. I believe the only theatre solution is to see if it makes sense to have comparable special shows. Otherwise, the singing is only for the professionals on-stage. What's next: barging in on Nessun Dorma?
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:19 PM
Penny Ross said:
I am with the majority on this no, and no, and no -- the only exception was a performance of Encores many years ago -- I think it was "Babes in Arms" when the audience couldn't stop themselves (ourselves) from humming along with the overture. BUT we all shut up when the show began and the real singers took the stage. If I want to hear a not-good amateur, I can listen to myself in the shower.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:33 PM
Tallen said:
There is nothing worse that seeing a new show while sitting next to someone who “knows every lyric”- and they end up trying to sing along and making up words as they go. Not to mention - they just can’t manage to get into the same key as the Pros on stage. I could forgive to a certain extent if this was a child- but unfortunately this was an adult. We pay to see professionals not fans.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:41 PM
Susan said:
NO singing along!!! Nobody pays top $ to enjoy a performance only to have a fellow audience member singing along! Very bad form!!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:51 PM
Margaret Docherty said:
Audience participation by singing is most distracting unless the performers invite participation. Theater is a communal event and not only YOUR event. Enjoy in silence.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:55 PM
Ron said:
I much prefer the singing along to the hooting, hollering and whistling that now goes on. Appropriate audience behavior seems to be a thing of the past.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 2:55 PM
sandy said:
I attend Broadway shows to hear the professionals. At the last show I went to, the lady behind me and I sang during the intermission. When the show began, we were both quiet. That is the only singing that should occur from the audience. We didn't bother anyone. Buy the CD and sing at home if you must, but not during the performance. Thanks for your consideration.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 3:00 PM
Carolyn said:
I think it really depends upon the show, but much like others have mentioned, the cast owns the stage and it's up to them to invite participation, or not. As one who does musical theatre myself, I am familiar with many shows and roles, but refrain, and just "mouth along" without sound, out of respect and to enjoy their performer in that role.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 3:10 PM
DGM said:
No, no, and NO.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 3:14 PM
Joan Tosh said:
Of course one should not sing along with the cast unless asked to do so. One should also not speak along with the actors. It is insulting to the professionals and incredibly rude to the rest of the audience. If I wanted to hear you sing, I’ll pay for the privilege at your professional performance.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 3:15 PM
Stephanie said:
Unless it is a special number which clearly requests the audience sing/participates, or it is a special sing along performance (which would be LOVELY for shows!), don't sing along. It's rude to those around you and can ruin the experience for others. I'm sure lots of people in the audience work hard to control themselves and not sing along. I personally find it helpful to just mouth the words.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 3:30 PM
Kate said:
I am a huge fan of musicals and often have the soundtrack beforehand to familiarize myself with the music. I would NEVER think of singing along with the actors, though, even though I might know every word. Unless there is a particular call for audience participation, please, please, please keep the signing to yourself!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 3:36 PM
Kat French said:
No, no, no singing! I wish they'd go back to no food and drink, too. Actors, musicians, crew... they all work too hard to create the magic that only live theatre can give. These days there are just way too many things going on in the audience that take you out of the moment and ruin the show... talking, singing, crinkling candy wrappers, and -- of course -- cell phones. Just stop!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 3:54 PM
Bernard Stoller said:
There once was a cabaret/piano bar performer in New Orleans named Miss Lilly. She sang late into the night in the back bar at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. If someone dared to start singing along with her while she was performing, she would slam her hands down on the keys and say to them (in a raised voice), "I SING! YOU DRINK!" We all have our roles in life.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 4:23 PM
Julie said:
I really don't want to listen to audience members singing along with the highly trained professional singers and musicians that I have paid big $$ to hear. Please no. Unless it is a finale and the people on stage invite the audience to sing. Please no.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 4:25 PM
Lynn Sebrell said:
There are two places in Hamilton where the audience is invited to sing along: Laurens brings the audience in on the “whoa whoa whoas” in My Shot. And King George says, “Everybody,” and commands everyone to join in at the end of You’ll Be Back. These two moments have been confirmed as acceptable by cast members guesting on The Hamilcast. That’s all the singalong we should hear.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 4:26 PM
Laurie said:
Of course you shouldn't sing out loud at show unless invited to. You are not the only one in the audience. It is descourteous to the actors and fellow audience members.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 5:26 PM
Susan said:
A woman seated next to me at a performance of Fiddler in Yiddish was humming along with the music. I asked her to please stop (this after asking her to stop talking to her husband after the show started), she told me (very ungraciously) to change my seat and continued to hum. To add insult to injury, she was off key. Fortunately I was able to change my seat, but waited until after intermission.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 5:31 PM
Carol L. Nesbit said:
I believe that for an audience to sing along with performers in crass and selfish. It is clearly an insult or worse to the performers who should be center stage and would be if not for the singing buffoons in the audience.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 5:43 PM
Angela C / Brooklyn, NY said:
The theatre is a place that we pay to go to be entertained by those on stage. I know many, many shows by heart and could probably sing each one without a miscue but I wouldn't. Let the professionals do their jobs and sit back and relish each moment. Come to the theatre and act like you know that it is going to be a special moment; shut off your phone (yes, really power it off!)... I could go on
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 6:20 PM
Arlo Kasper said:
I would concede only if a rousing number when the cast seemed to encourage participation -- certainly would hate hearing a single voice or two around me showing off!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 6:27 PM
GK said:
Absolutely Not. If I wanted to hear audience members sing I would go to a song-a-long. Audience singing along with cellphone ringing and people talking is just rude. If you must sing at a Broadway play stay home and buy the cast recording. People singing just ruin the experience for those who paid to hear the professional performers.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 7:37 PM
Mary said:
It is sad that we even need to have this discussion. It is NOT old fashion to expect theatergoers to be respectful of performers and other members of the audience. For those who feel the need to sing along in public, there are karaoke bars......and plenty of them. It is nothing short of rude and inconsiderate to chime in unless asked to do so by the cast. Period.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 7:39 PM
Derrick said:
No. Let the paid professional performers do their thing. That is why most people love the performances. Otherwise people will not pay for performances if common people interrupt the shows. We pay for talent not non professionals
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 8:46 PM
Eric L said:
ABSOLUTELY NOT! PERIOD.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:03 PM
Louis Abate said:
One of my biggest peeves is audiences that feel the need to sing along with the show. At the rate Broadway is ever increasing ticket prices I want to hear the performers. HOW have we allowed the decline of theatre etiquette? People are wearing shorts and flip-flops, eating, drinking, talking and singing as if they are in their own living room. If that is what you want to do then please stay home!
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:36 PM
Susan Levy said:
Someone has got to be kidding me! Theater goers pay quite a bit of money to see a popular musical and expect to see/hear professional performers with good voices, not the “kitchen soprano” or “shower tenor” (with apologies to WQXR, whose long-ago ads used those images) sitting near them. Word to the amateur singers: try out for community theater or productions at your church, synagogue, or school.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:42 PM
Odette Rein said:
I'm one of those theater goers who want to hear the performers whom I paid to hear. If the producers want the show to be a sing-a-long they would let the audience know. Many times I mouth the words, but, I never vocalize them.
Posted on 8/25/2018 at 10:47 PM
Barbara said:
I found it very upsetting when people decided that Bette Midler needed help in singing during a recent viewing of Hello Dolly! Audience members should definitely not sing during a performance unless instructed to do so by the actors.
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 6:17 AM
Ellen said:
Please no singing during the show. I’ve paid good money to hear the stars. Last week we saw Beautiful and behind us was a man who sang throughout. Annoying and impolite -yes, we all know the words however the enjoyment is hearing the actors and actressses. Save it for the shower.
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 6:53 AM
Carol said:
Agreed that theater etiquette has deteriorated and singing at a Broadway is just the latest manifestation of this trend. It began when people started wearing "very casual" clothes to the theater. It has gone downhill ever since. This is not snobbery; it is just basic etiquette..
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 10:58 AM
Michael said:
SO...this just happened to me. 1st time seeing HAMILTON, the woman next to us sang the entire first act! Did NOT come to hear her perform...at intermission we said to her you have a lovely voice, but please do not sing during the second act...we want to hear the performers...she replied "oh, was I singing? I guess I was...can't help it" Well, I made sure she didn't sing again in second act! UGHH!
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 11:31 AM
Jake said:
I couldn't agree more that Joe Smoe singing at live theater is terribly rude and insensitive and annoying. Standing after a show is also annoying. It used to be done only when someone was terribly incredible and now at every mediocre show they do it. Those of us who don't wish to participate (or who are unable) cannot see the actors take their bows. We need to put an end to this practice.
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 1:06 PM
Arlo said:
Obligatory standing Os and now sing alongs? Where are they, in their showers? Decorum, unspoken rules, gone. It's bad enough people actually fall asleep and snore. Sing along only if it's asked/permitted by the performers. I want to hear Lupone not you.
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 4:27 PM
Joat said:
I quite simply agree!
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 5:17 PM
Laura said:
Absolutely no singing during the performance. I have younger nieces and nephews and have taught them that rule as well. In the car, we belt....in the theatre, No way.....
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 6:39 PM
David Gebel said:
NO NO NO singing during the show! It is rude and ultimately very self-serving. Yes, I know the singing person will say they are doing it "in admiration and enjoyment", but I believe deep down they are rather proud of knowing every lyric. So... GO GET INVOLVED IN YOUR LOCAL THEATRE and sing there, NOT during Broadway show.
Posted on 8/26/2018 at 9:15 PM
Stephanie said:
I've been going to the theater for years and have seen New York theater turn from a wonderful, engaging experience to a "dig my nails into my fists, jaw clenching and headache inducing " nightmare thanks to the new wave of inexperienced, rude, self involved, star chasing , uneducated, cell phone addicted theater goers. Perhaps a list of theater etiquette rules should be included in every Playbill.
Posted on 8/27/2018 at 9:30 AM
Shelley said:
No singing, no humming, no talking/whispering/crying during the overture/performance, no strong perfume/cologne, no crinkling of wrappers, etc. thus allowing everyone to be totally captivated by the show.
Posted on 8/27/2018 at 10:46 AM
Eddie said:
For the most part I agree and would typically get really annoyed at the sing-alongers. But I was at a show once where it just seemed right. It was Jersey Boys, and in the second act people did start singing along, even getting up and dancing. And it fit! But that's as far as I'll go. Specially tagged performances, sure, if that is what management want. But please warn us in advance.
Posted on 8/27/2018 at 2:11 PM
Celia Bressack said:
One word answer to your question: NO!
Posted on 8/27/2018 at 3:19 PM
Nancy Clipper said:
I am an avid theater-goer and have seen the etiquette associated with this activity slowly disintegrate and discarded altogether....I am appalled and it has definitely lessened my enjoyment of the performance. We can hear you humming! and it's annoying. We can hear you humming! and it's disgusting. Please stop it! Sing at home, in the street, in the park, in a bar, not in the theater.
Posted on 8/28/2018 at 7:47 AM
Desalyn said:
Please do not sing along we are not at an outdoor concert. Let's keep Broadway pure and original. Let's sit back (nicely dressed) and enjoy the PERFORMANCE. Give the actors the chance they worked hard to achieve, to showoff their talents on the greatest stage. Please, please do not join in. I love Bruce Springsteen and couldn't get tickets but I love that he told the audience I can handle it.
Posted on 8/28/2018 at 9:35 AM
Stephanie Revesz said:
Please NO. It is unacceptable to sing, talk, text, check your email etc. Please be considerate. Theater tickets are not cheap and it unfair to ruin other people’s enjoyment of a performance. I’m very sad that going to the theater has become less of a special event and more like a party
Posted on 8/28/2018 at 4:11 PM
Pat said:
No singing along unless encouraged by the performers to do so. I go to see a show or concert to enjoy the performers, not some wannabe singing off key. go to karaoke night or something!!
Posted on 8/29/2018 at 4:20 PM
Leilani said:
Absolutely not! Never! I also hate it when performers urge the audience to clap in rhythm. Sing all you want on the way home.
Posted on 8/30/2018 at 8:56 AM
Arlene Yolles said:
Of course I, too, agree with Erika. I have frequently remarked to my companions at the theater that it seems as though this new generation of audience-goers feels it's all "audience participation." What's wrong with them? This just goes along with ubiquitous Standing Ovations and wearing gym clothes to the theater! Wrong, wrong, and wrong!
Posted on 9/5/2018 at 5:19 PM
Leave A Comment:
(required)
(required)
(Are you human?)
TDF Stages Home About TDF Stages Newsletter Signup

Follow TDF Stages:

Translate TDF Stages: