Get in the know on what to do before, at, during, and after the show.

Before The Show

How is “theatre” different from a movie theater? Theatre is live storytelling on a stage. When the storytelling includes singing & dancing, the show is generally called a musical; otherwise, it’s a play. You may see the alternate spelling “theater” used to refer to the actual building where the show takes place.

What do I wear? At Palo Alto Players, attire ranges from casual to formal. For example, patrons might come to the theater directly from school and work in jeans and sneakers; others might be here for a special occasion in suits and gowns. So please wear whatever makes you comfortable for your experience!

How long will the show be? Shows are typically 1.5 to 3 hours long. Some, but not all, include a 10-15 minute break (called an intermission) about halfway through.

What if I need help or have a question at the theater? Look for black and red Palo Alto Players nametags on all of our ushers, staff, and board members; they’ll be very happy to help you.

Arriving At The Show

What do I do when I get to the Lucie Stern Community Theater? From the central courtyard, you’ll see the entrance to our lobby. Most patrons will have chosen to print their tickets at home or to have them on smartphones, but if you don’t yet have your ticket, our Box Office can help you. Those who have purchased tickets in advance can pick them up (will call), and those who don’t yet have tickets can purchase them at the Box Office (subject to availability). With your tickets in hand, our friendly ushers (dressed in white tops and black bottoms) are waiting to welcome you into the lobby. They’ll scan your ticket, provide you with a show program (free of charge at Palo Alto Players), then help you find seats in the theater.

What is “will call”? Instead of printing your tickets at home or using an electronic code, will call refers to the service where, for a small fee, our Box Office can have the physical tickets waiting for you at the theater up to 1 hour before the show.

Why is there a counter of food and drinks in the lobby with a sign called “Concessions”? Sales of snacks and  beverages are a service to our patrons to enhance the theatre experience. We do not profit from these sales; instead, all proceeds go to support the cast and crews of our shows. Concessions are available before the show and during intermission.

What’s in a show program? The printed booklet given out by the ushers as you enter the theater contains valuable information about the show you’re able to see, including its estimated duration; whether there’s an intermission; its list of scenes and/or songs; its creators, cast, crew, and production team members; and the donors who support Palo Alto Players to make theatre available to broad audiences.

During The Show

How are we able to hear the actors on stage? Actors often wear “body mics,” or portable microphone packs that are concealed within their costumes. If you look very closely, you might see the flexible tip of the mic taped near the actors’ foreheads or jawlines.

I hear music but don’t see any instruments. Where is it coming from? For shows that have an orchestra, if the musicians are not seen onstage, they’re actually under the stage, in an area called the orchestra pit. While you may not see the music director, actors often have a live video feed at the back of the theater, where they can see the music director’s cues to synchronize them with the orchestra.

What should I do during intermission? Feel free to stretch your legs, use the restroom, visit the lobby, purchase concessions, or simply stay in your seat to wait for the second act. Concessions will be available for sale in the lobby, and a chime sound will let you know when the intermission is coming to an end.

During bows at the end of the show, why do the actors gesture to different parts of the theater? Depending on where the musicians and/or production team are located, the actors are pointing out the orchestra pit (under the stage), the sound booth (at the back of the theater), and/or the light booth (high up at the back of the theater) to acknowledge the other key contributors to the show you’ve just seen.

Why do some audience members stand up when they’re clapping at the end? The standing ovation is an extra gesture of appreciation for the artistry of the show. It’s not required, but if you were touched by the story you just saw onstage, feel free to jump to your feet too!

After The Show

There’s a large banner in the lobby with the Palo Alto Players logo all over it that looks like a red carpet area. Is it reserved for the actors? Called a “step and repeat,” we invite everyone to use this backdrop as a photo op–a wonderful memory of your experience at the theatre!

In addition to attending the shows, how can I support Palo Alto Players? Please share your theatre experience with friends; make a donation to keep theatre broadly accessible; audition for an upcoming show; or volunteer with us. We hope to see you again soon!

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