Tristan Fuge
Tristan Fuge
Going to the theater may be one of the best experiences you will ever have in your life. But in order to make sure it's as enjoyable as possible -- for both you and your fellow audience members -- TheaterMania has culled 10 handy tips on everything from buying tickets to getting to your seat in time.

1) If you're going to buy your tickets directly at the box office, please be organized and considerate of others. Bring with you a list of all dates and times that work for you (and your guests) and ask the box office which of them has the best seats. The person behind the window will guide you to the best possible options; that's his or her job! If what you are offered isn't satisfactory, move away from the window and don't get back on line until you have a new plan in mind.

2) If you are at the box office or are ordering tickets on the phone and have a discount offer, present it or mention it immediately -- before asking for your seats. While almost all discounts are for "best available seats," please read the restrictions; some dates and/or seats may not be available under the terms of the agreement and the ticket agent does not necessarily have the discretion to make exceptions. And under all circumstances, please be kind to the box office people!

3) If you arrive at the theater or discover beforehand that you can't find your tickets, go to the box office; they will be happy to assist you. If you've purchased the ticket by credit card, a voucher for your seats can be arranged fairly quickly.

4) Make sure you know what time the show starts. While 8pm on evenings, 2pm on Saturdays, and 3pm on Sundays are standard "start times," your show's curtain time may vary. Not only is being late disruptive to other patrons, but certain shows do not seat latecomers under any circumstances! (Plus, who wants to miss a musical's opening number?!)

5) Give yourself a sufficient amount of time to get comfortably seated, go to the bathroom, or buy a drink or snack. In most cases, arriving at the theater 15 or 20 minutes in advance should be fine -- especially since most theaters don't open their doors until then. And since you have a preassigned seat, there's no real reason to be early and have to wait in line in the sweltering heat or freezing cold. And remember: it may be easier to use the bathroom in your hotel or at the restaurant where you're dining right before the show than waiting until 7:45 and dealing with long lines at the theater!

6) If you are bringing children with you, gently remind them they are in a public place and need to behave appropriately. For example, they need to sit still -- kicking the person sitting in front of you is simply not allowed -- and talking of any sort (even a whisper) is not acceptable.

7) Turn off your cell phones before the show starts; don't text or use your blackberry during the show; and make sure everything you turned on is back off after intermission. These aren't just suggestions; these are rules -- and in some case, city laws!

8) Do everything you can to make sure your fellow theatergoers can also enjoy the show. Remove your hat. Keep your coat to yourself. Unwrap those candy wrappers in advance. Don't talk during the show. It's not always easy -- we know that. Do it anyway!

9) If you see a celebrity in or outside the theater, please be respectful. Most celebrities are happy to meet and talk with their fans -- or even sign an autograph -- in the appropriate circumstance. Don't interrupt their conversation. Don't start screaming. And don't take their picture in the theater (since any sort of picture-taking is not allowed)!

10) When the show is over, do try to leave the theater quickly. Patrons sitting on or near the aisle need to make an extra effort to get up as soon as they can, so those sitting in the middle of the row can exit promptly. If you want to meet cast members afterwards, gather in an orderly fashion at the "stage door" where most actors exit and are happy to shake hands or sign autographs. It can be the perfect end to a perfect evening.