Jump to content


Standing seats?


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Cliff

Cliff

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 161 posts

Posted 15 May 2005 - 09:12 PM

There have been references here to "standing room" tickets. Are these literally standing room only for the entire performance? If so, wouldn't unoccupied seats be claimed at intermission?

#2 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,255 posts

Posted 15 May 2005 - 09:36 PM

There have been references here to "standing room" tickets.  Are these literally standing room only for the entire performance? If so, wouldn't unoccupied seats be claimed at intermission?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The answers are "yes" and "it depends." Assume you'll stand and feel lucky if you get a seat.

Sometimes with standing room, there is a wall to lean against, and only one row "deep" of standees. In other configurations, there are several rows, and in front of each of the back rows is what looks almost looks like a freestanding barre, with a narrow shelf that is often padded. In some venues, there are several places in the theater with standing room, at different levels of the theater. The walls can make it bearable, though it can be annoying not being in the first row, if the person in front of you does a lot of shifting.

Whether you can sit at intermission depends on the theater, the ushers, the prevailing winds, and how far astray you go from where standing room is. When I did a lot of standing at the New York State Theater, once the lights started to go down, and the ushers would head down the stairs to their perches, there would be a rush from standing room into empty seats on or towards the aisles. As people got more brazen, pushing into empty middle seats, and after the curtain rose, continued to push past patrons, blocking people's view and making a ruckus, the ushers went through periods of stricter enforcement.

If there are empty rows of seats, chances are you'll be able to sit, unless the ushers are being very strict. It's dangerous, though, in a crowded house, to assume that singles and doubles are going to remain empty, because there are usually some people who arrive late and take their seats during first intermission. By second intermission, it's usually clear who will arrive.

Sometimes it works heading towards lower-level seats, but I've seen people ejected from, for example, the Orchestra of the New York State Theater (where there is no standing room), and I've also seen the Metropolitan Opera ushers watch the Orchestra standees carefully to see that none of them "defect" into Orchestra seats during intermission. Also, there are theaters or events where standing room is sold only if the event -- or the section with standing room -- is or is close to a sellout, which means that empty seats are hard to find.

#3 richard53dog

richard53dog

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,401 posts

Posted 16 May 2005 - 08:33 AM

[The answers are "yes" and "it depends."  Assume you'll stand and feel lucky if you get a seat.

  The walls can make it bearable, though it can be annoying not being in the first row, if the person in front of you does a lot of shifting.



and I've also seen the Metropolitan Opera ushers watch the Orchestra standees carefully to see that none of them "defect" into Orchestra seats during intermission. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



The Met has three rows of standing room on the orchestra level. It can be very frustrating to be in the second, or worse , third row. As Hockeyfan228 notes, it is annoying if the person ahead of you keeps moving. Also if they are tall. If you are in the third row it can be pretty awful.

The Met ushers used to use ropes (and may still do) to confine the standees to their section so as to limit their picking up empty pricey seats.


The NYST used to be very lax. (I'm talking more than 30 years ago) I used to slip into the company box, which is at the back of the orchestra level.

Once, very brazenly, I took a chair and put it at the end of one of the rows of the orchestra section. No one challenged me.


Richard

#4 Dale

Dale

    Emeralds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,047 posts

Posted 16 May 2005 - 06:50 PM

As it has been stated, at the State Theater the ushers let standing room ticket holders to move into seats after the lights go down (or when ever the ushers walk down the steps and signal with there flash lights). They don't let you move from ring to ring and the standing room is only on the fourth ring.

At the Met, they are still strict. There is standing room on several levels and I've heard they don't let anybody sit down, even when the ring is half empty. One little old lady told me she wrote a letter to ABT and the Met to complain about this. I'm not sure what they did.

#5 fandeballet

fandeballet

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 212 posts

Posted 16 May 2005 - 09:16 PM

To give you the perspective from the "other
side":
1) In the early90's, the Met allowed the standees to sit in the last two rows of the Orchestra. The hitch to this was that not many of the standees honored the stipulation that they could only use those last two rows. In fact they even took some of the seats that belonged to the administrative heads of ABT!!!!!!! So that got the managements of both ABT and the Met rather ornery. And it was up to the poor ushers to enforce the rule "if you paid for a standing room ticket, you have to stand." For several years ABT even paid for an extra usher on each side of the orchestra- to help keep standees from taking seats that they did not pay for. And if the ushers did not do this they could have been sent home or suspended. And over the past several years computer printouts have been given out to the ushers showing where the unsold seats were!!!!!! You cannot understand what goes on behind the scenes. But, it is a stressful situation to be caught between management and patrons.

#6 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 16 May 2005 - 09:18 PM

On another thread, chrisk217 asked:

Also how do standing room tickets work?

For dance venues in New York City, there is no standing room at the Joyce, City Center or the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Only at New York State Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House. On those occasions when dance companies appear in Broadway houses, it varies from theater to theater. At both NYST and the Met, tickets go on sale day of performance, regardless of how well sold the house is.

NYST: There are 40 spaces, all at the furthest and uppermost reaches of the theater. This may or may not be available for non-NYCB companies.

Met: When the theater makes it available (they did not last summer for the Royal Ballet :innocent: ) there is standing room on four different levels.
Orchestra: Three rows, as described above by richard53dog.
Grand Tier: About 30 spaces located toward the sides, several feet behind the last row of seats. These GT spots are not assigned, other than some numbers to to the left, some to the right (I forget how this is determined), so the spot you get is first-come, first-served. You should try to be there very soon after the doors open to claim a better spot.
Dress Circle: 40 (?) assigned spots in a row directly behind the last row of seats.
Family Circle: About 40 spots, all assigned, all directly behind the last row of seats. Bring your own oxygen and good opera glasses.

#7 Dansuer85

Dansuer85

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 172 posts

Posted 16 May 2005 - 10:34 PM

I've done standing room at both the NYST and the Met. NYST you can sit right as the lights go down, I very much like this! It's far away, but you can see pretty well. At the Met, they are horrible! I know I paid for standing room, but I can't afford an orchestra seat and if there are empty seats then whats the harm?! I was seeing a performance of "Copellia" last summer and I had a balcony seat and it was very crowded and I saw that the orchestra was rather empty, so I tried my luck down there, didn't work! :innocent: At the Met it works much better if its very crowded, had luck with some friends at a performance of Swan Lake! :unsure: I don't mind standing room, but as the others said, if I'm in the first row. It's cheap and it makes it when I'm in New York City I can see more than one performance! :beg:

#8 fandeballet

fandeballet

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 212 posts

Posted 17 May 2005 - 06:10 AM

Dear Dansuer85..... You must also understand that while managements have different degrees of enforcing the rules, all tickets bought are licences that entitles you to your spot, whether you have purchased a seat or standing place. The Met feels that its ushers must enforce the licensing agreement, and unsold or empty seats that are sold must be kept that way!!!!! Believe this , the ushers' strings are pulled very hard by Met management!!!!!

#9 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,255 posts

Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:26 AM

You cannot understand what goes on behind the scenes.  But, it is a stressful situation to be caught between management and patrons.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The one time I moved to a different section to get a better seat was when I succombed to peer pressure -- at age 45 :innocent: -- and followed my friend from the top tier at Benaroya Hall to an empty box in the Founders Tier at first intermission of Messiah. An usher immediately appeared, and asked us if we had permission to be in the Symphony box. It was clear that he expected us to argue. I started to mumble apologies and was halfway back up to my assigned seat, when the usher said that we could stay if no one else showed up. But it was clear that it was a very stressful situation for him, constantly looking up the staircase to see if the people who had passes/tickets would show up.

That was the last time. It's not worth putting someone else through that stress for doing their job. (I do not feel quite the same way toward meter maids, but I should.)

#10 richard53dog

richard53dog

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,401 posts

Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:48 AM

I was seeing a performance of "Copellia" last summer and I had a balcony seat and it was very crowded and I saw that the orchestra was rather empty, so I tried my luck down there, didn't work! :innocent:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Dansuer85,

It's all in the luck of the draw, and more importantly, how casually you go about it.
I too had a Coppelia balcony seat last Summer and moved down(after the first act) into an orchestra seat. You just can't draw attention to yourself and you have to look like you belong there.


This is not a license to cheat the performing organizations out of their rightful income, rather it is a description of my own wicked misdeeds.

Richard

#11 Marga

Marga

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,022 posts

Posted 17 May 2005 - 09:50 AM

I don't know quite where to post this since this thread and the "creative ways to find a seat" thread seem to have traded places judging by the recent responses, so I'll just put my contribution here.

It's on a much smaller scale that I write, but my situation could apply to the feelings of the well-heeled patrons at large theaters such as the Met and the State Theater who buy more than one ticket only to be left with absent friends or family members and their paid-for empty seats.

When my daughter was still in ballet school she often had starring roles or solos in the ballet school's productions. These were full-scale complete classical ballets such as Don Q, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, Swan Lake, Giselle, etc.

I bought as many as 20-25 tickets for each production in order to get really good seats and went about selling them to family and friends after I had the tickets in hand.

On some occasions, ticket-holders were late arriving (my husband's family never arrived on time, this being a genetic trait passed down from his maternal side) and their front-row seats would often be unfilled until well after the overture.

I was constantly shooing people out of these seats as they descended like fruit flies on a day-old peach to claim them. I couldn't believe the audacity of some of these folk, bold to the point of insisting they could sit there as long as they were empty, as if they didn't believe that anyone would be arriving to fill them, and further, that that gave them the perfect right to these top-dollar, best seats in the house. I had to tell them that I had paid for these seats and they were mine whether the family members slated to sit in them got there or not. I was often amazed at the temerity and sheer gall I witnessed!

Perhaps there are those who go to see ABT or NYCB who can afford to buy a few tickets for family members who boorishly don't arrive on time. I know how it greatly diminished my enjoyment of the ballet being performed in front of me (as well as greatly adding to my stress) to protectively keep vigil over my purchased seats as well as hope the errant family members or friends showed up at all to prove to the nervy patrons who tried to usurp their seats that I was telling the truth.

#12 Dansuer85

Dansuer85

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 172 posts

Posted 17 May 2005 - 04:18 PM

fandeballet said:

Dear Dansuer85..... You must also understand that while managements have different degrees of enforcing the rules, all tickets bought are licences that entitles you to your spot, whether you have purchased a seat or standing place. The Met feels that its ushers must enforce the licensing agreement, and unsold or empty seats that are sold must be kept that way!!!!! Believe this , the ushers' strings are pulled very hard by Met management!!!!!


Fandeballet, I tottaly understand that! I don't hate the ushers for doing their job, I just wish the Met didn't care so much. I mean yes, if I could pay for an orchestra seat, I certianly would.

I do agree that it's the luck of the draw richard!

#13 Dale

Dale

    Emeralds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,047 posts

Posted 17 May 2005 - 05:12 PM

Marga, I understand your annoyance. But if the tickets were going to go unused by family members who couldn't make it, would your daughter really want to dance in front of a half-empty house, or would she want to dance in front of a fuller front of the house, whether they actually paid for the tickets in question? As a former performer, I'd have wanted to play for people in seats, not empty ones.

#14 Marga

Marga

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,022 posts

Posted 17 May 2005 - 06:52 PM

Thanks for your response, Dale.

The seatholders always eventually showed up and because it was a school performance they were able to be seated during the performance. The house was always full to the rafters, so it surprised me that some folks would think that the front row seats were unsold or unwanted.
As for my daughter, she would have danced for any size house, the dance being the thing. :blink:

Had the seats ever remained empty after intermission, I would have preferred to invite people I knew to move down and take them.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):