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Tips for Preparing Your Child to See a Broadway Show

by Mommy Frog on May 1, 2024
New York City

Seeing a Broadway show for the first time is something you never forget. Whether you travel to New York City to see a show or catch a touring production that comes to your town, you may be wondering how to prepare your kids for Broadway shows. After all, you're spending money on tickets and want it to be a positive experience for your family. Let's go over how old your kids need to be to see a show, theatre etiquette and how to introduce your kids to theatre. Plus, you can now save up to 40% on Broadway and theater tickets, including Disney on Ice, Paw Patrol and more, through Undercover Tourist!

Tips for Taking Kids to Broadway Shows

Tips for Preparing Your Child to See a Broadway Show- Variety of show signs on Broadway

How old does your child need to be to see a show? And how do you make sure you're choosing the right show, show time and seats for your kids? We can help! We are theatre fans and have taken our kids to experience some amazing productions — hop over here to see our Top 10 shows for kids.

Make Sure Your Child Meets the Minimum Age Requirement

Kid with signed playbill for Dear Evan HansenAge restrictions and recommendations vary by production and theater. Across the board, the minimum age requirement for audience members is 4 years old. But you may need to be older for select productions. All audience members, regardless of age, must have a ticket. Babes in arms are not allowed.

For Disney shows such as "Frozen — The Musical," "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast," the shows are recommended for children ages 6 and up. These are family musicals without any inappropriate content but can have scary moments. Children under 4 will not be admitted into the theatre. For "Wicked," the recommended age is 8 and up. No children under 5 are admitted. You do not want to be turned away at the door, so find out about the age requirements before you purchase tickets.

Even family-friendly shows have scary parts. Does your child understand that scary scenes are pretend? Give your kids a plan on how to handle dramatic moments. Tell them to hold your hand if they feel scared. As a last resort, think of an exit plan ahead of time in case your child needs a break.

If you have preschoolers, consider some of the family shows designed for kids. We sell discount tickets to so many family shows that are going to be better environments for wiggly kids and their shorter attention spans.

Choose a Broadway Show for Kids that Is Appropriate for Their Ages

Tips for Preparing Your Child to See a Broadway Show-Hamilton Sign

Some shows are better for teens and tweens than small children. "Hamilton" has adult language. However, if your kids already listen to the soundtrack, there won't be any surprises there. "Dear Evan Hansen" has more mature themes such as teen suicide and the effects of social media that are better suited for middle schoolers and high schoolers than small children. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is appropriate for children 10 and up.

Play the Music

Kids love familiar music. If you are going to a musical, play the music at home and in the car leading up to your show. This will allow your child to connect with the show.

Read the Book or Story

If it's a show that has a book or story associated with it, familiarize your child with the plot line. It will make it easier to understand what's hoppening and excite your child to see familiar characters. Explain that live productions will look different from a movie and have extra parts, deleted parts or even added songs. For instance, "Aladdin The Musical" has extra songs that do not appear in the Disney animated film.

Start Local and Work Your Way Up to Broadway

Tips for Preparing Your Child to See a Broadway Show-Closed Frozen show at a theme park

Take your child to see local community plays, theme park shows and high school productions. Not only are these generally inexpensive (or included in your theme park ticket), but they will introduce your child to theatre and allow you to assess their attention span and whether they are ready for a larger production. Go to a movie theater. Can your child sit quietly through an entire film? If they cannot, they are not quite ready for live theater.

Discuss Appropriate Behavior

Children need to understand that there are certain theater etiquette rules to follow during a performance. It's important to behave respectfully so everyone around you can enjoy the show too. Discuss the importance of staying quiet, remaining seated and keeping eyes and ears focused on the stage. Just like on an airplane, no kicking the seat in front of you. Encourage whispering or using inside voices.

If food is allowed in the theater, refrain from crinkling wrappers during the show. Open candy before the show begins. Make sure drinks are in a resealable or spill-proof container. Avoid bringing gum.

Choose a Seat Where Kids Can See

Your kids are much shorter than you. Choose a seat where they can see well. The front seat of a balcony or a new section offers a great unobstructed view. However, the front row right in front of the stage is often situated a little low for them to see the full stage. If one of the people sitting in front of your family is shorter than the others, place your child behind that person.

Find out if your theater offers booster seats. You can locate booster seats outside of each theater door. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. It's best to arrive early to secure a booster. Three hours is a long time to have a kid on your lap.

Choose a Show Time that Works

If your kids normally have an early bedtime, a matinee is going to be a better time to watch the show than a late-night show. Otherwise, you might be paying for an expensive nap.

Arrive Early with Full Bellies

Tips for Preparing Your Child to See a Broadway Show-Aladdin signs

Planning to arrive early can help you avoid missing the opening act due to traffic or long lines getting in. Shows can last three hours. Eat before the show and have a meal plan after the show if it's a matinee. Arrive early, use the restroom, scout out the snack and beverage situation and the rules (you often cannot eat or drink in the theater except for water), take photos and have time to prepare before the show. Make sure everyone goes potty before the show starts and during intermission. You won't want to climb across laps mid-show for a bathroom break. Broadway theaters often have tight spaces between rows.

Bring a Marker or Pen

Tips for Preparing Your Child to See a Broadway Show-Cast member signing Playbills

Sometimes after a show, the cast members come outside to meet audience members at the stage door. Teens and tweens love to get cast autographs on the playbill. It makes a great souvenir for no additional cost! Find out if the cast is likely to come out and sign playbills, posters or autograph books, and research which door to wait near. Meeting the cast of "Dear Evan Hansen" can be just as exciting for a teen as seeing the show itself. Be patient, but also set realistic expectations to avoid disappointment if they do not end up coming out to greet fans.

Purchase Affordable Broadway Show Tickets

Chances are your child is going to be mesmerized by Broadway magic. With these tips, you can prepare for a frogtastic theatre experience! Save up to 40% on Broadway shows in New York City and around the country with Undercover Tourist. You can see shows in NYC or catch the touring productions when they come to a city near you.

Save on Broadway shows, tours, museums, tours, hotel stays, rental cars, theme parks and more discounted tickets with Undercover Tourist — a trusted ticket seller for 20+ years.

Related: The 10 Best Broadway Shows for Kids

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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