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The 5 Types Of Audiences You Meet When Watching A Musical

We’ve all been there. We’ve met them. Which one are you?

1. THE NEWBIE

Just like Chris meeting Kim for the first time, the newbie doesn’t know what he’s in for. 

The newbie may be a kid, or someone who won the tickets by chance, or someone who was brought by a friend with promises that musicals would change their lives. He’s someone who knows almost zilch about the musical’s background and its cast. Newbies are always fun to have around because you get to see their perspectives change. By the end of Act 1, they’ve fallen in love with the set, the orchestra, and the actors. They’ll be singing show tunes with you on the way home. After the show, the newbies will be asking their veteran peers for musical recommendations and lists, hungry for more.

2. THE VETERAN AND SELF-PROCLAIMED EXPERT

If you’ve heard how fast Lin Manuel Miranda can rap, then you’ll know what it sounds like when a musical veteran starts talking.

The veteran knows everything there is to know about the show. From the musical’s composers and lyricists to the West End, Broadway, and International Tour performers, the veteran knows it all. He almost always tries to wear an outfit inspired by the musical, or at least with its color schemes. The veteran tries his best to buy a souvenir. He knows the lyrics by heart. The expert can be kind of annoying to his companions who only know the basics about the musical because he’ll be the one spouting out facts a mile a minute. Once the show starts, however, the expert pipes down and focuses on the production.

3. THE SILENT POLITE AUDIENCE

Ever wonder what Christine felt like when The Phantom swept her away and took her to his underground fortress? That’s what it’s like for them.         

The silent type claps at the appropriate moments. He seems emotionless and unimpressed but suddenly you’ll see him wiping away tears during a particularly emotional number, or beaming during the end of an act. The silent polite audience is caught in his own little world – just him and the musical. It’s as if the other audience members don’t exist and it’s just him with Eponine, Jack Kelly, or Elphaba.

4. THE OVERENTHUSIASTIC FAN

If he could go onstage and do the Newsies jump along with the cast, he would. 

He applauds after every song, mouths the lyrics and lines along with the actors, and grips the arms of his companion to keep from screaming. The overenthusiastic fan is always on the edge of his seat, his eyes shining with pleasure at what he’s seeing. Every high note, every complex dance movement, makes him want to cheer. This is the fan who probably saved his allowance for months, or who joined every online contest there was just to see the show. He may be disruptive at times, he unknowingly bumps into the people next to him because of his enthusiasm, but the other members of the audience forgive him because he’s a fan and they understand.

5. THE “I DON’T REALLY CARE BUT I HAVE THE MONEY SO I’LL GO SEE IT”

Yes, Marius’ family was rich, just like this type.  

They’re not fans, they don’t really know anything about the musical. They just have the money and the means. Or worse, they only want to see the musical because it’s popular and “in” and all the rage these days and they think it makes them seem “cultured”. Sometimes they’re also the ones who are too busy with their phones. Sometimes we forgive them, sometimes we don’t. After all, everyone’s welcome in the theater. And who knows? Maybe they’ll grow to love it for real.

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