Why you should see a Broadway show from orchestra seats
Learn more about where orchestra seats are and what makes them some of the best seats in the house.
Every seat in a Broadway theatre is a good seat. Whether you’re in the first row of the orchestra or the last row of the balcony, you’re seeing theatre magic and a captivating, dramatic, and sometimes musical story unfold on the stage in front of you. But there's a special magic to sitting in the orchestra, where you're right up close to the performers.
If you’re a first-time or casual theatregoer, you might not know the difference between orchestra seats and those in other sections, like the mezzanine or balcony. That’s okay! We’ve answered all your questions about orchestra seats: where in the theatre they are, what to expect when you sit there, and how to get tickets in the orchestra section.
Once you become an orchestra seat expert after reading this guide, check out all the shows in our orchestra sale and snag great seats for you, your friends, and your family to see a Broadway show.
Where are orchestra seats located in the theatre?
Orchestra seats are on the first level of a theatre, right in front of the stage or surrounding it. In large, traditional Broadway theatres where the seats don’t surround the stage, the orchestra section is divided into three parts: the left orchestra, center orchestra, and right orchestra, named for where the audience sits. So if you’re facing the stage, the left orchestra is to your left, and so on.
If you’re in a smaller theatre that doesn’t have multiple levels (where the mezzanine and/or balcony sections would be located), every seat is an orchestra seat!
How much are orchestra seats?
Orchestra seats are typically some of the highest-priced, premium theatre seats since they’re the closest to the stage. Tickets for orchestra seats can easily go above $100, but at some shows, especially off Broadway, orchestra seats can cost much less. There’s no singular price for orchestra seats. Tickets in the center orchestra tend to go for higher prices than the side orchestra sections, though, because center orchestra seats offer the most direct view of the stage.
Why should I sit in the orchestra?
There are so many great reasons to sit in the orchestra. For one, orchestra seats put you closest to the stage, so you have a spectacular view. You can see every facial expression and movement the actors make. Think of it like seeing a movie on the big screen — you can’t zoom in on a famous actor’s face at a show, but you don’t need to when you’re sitting in the orchestra! So if you’re going to a show to see your favorite celebrity, sitting in the orchestra is the best way to see them up close and personal.
At some shows, the action even spills out into the audience, and it’s usually the people in the orchestra who are right there when it happens. For example, the famous chandelier crash happens right above the orchestra audience’s heads at The Phantom of the Opera — get ready for an adrenaline rush! And in Wicked, the flying monkeys fly out above the first few rows during the second act.
Sometimes, the performers take it a step further and directly interact with the audience, usually those sitting in the orchestra since they’re the closest. An actor might look you in the eye and deliver a line right to you, or run past you in the aisles! That’ll make for a theatre experience you won’t forget.
And the thrill of the orchestra isn’t just in who and what you can see on stage, but right next to you in the audience, too. Celebrities see Broadway shows sometimes, and they often sit in the orchestra. Who knows who might sit next to you when you get an orchestra ticket?
Are orchestra seats better than other theatre seats?
Not necessarily — no seating section in a theatre is a “bad” section! Orchestra seats get you closest to the stage, but being in the mezzanine or balcony can give you a wider, fuller view of the stage from a little higher up, especially as compared to a section like the side orchestra, where you might be closer, but might not have a full view of one far side of the stage. It’s all about personal preference!
How do I get orchestra tickets to Broadway shows?
You’re already in the right place! When you’re getting theatre tickets on New York Theatre Guide, click on your desired date and you’ll get to choose from the orchestra (otherwise called the center orchestra), the side orchestra, or any other section. Certain shows also let you pick your exact seat, so you can choose exactly how far and at what angle you want to sit from the stage.
Photo credit: Paolo Chiabrando via Unsplash