99% of theatre fans are amazing. Let's get that out of the way. They're supportive. Open minded. Forgiving. Patient(How many of you have been waiting for a new Sondheim musical?).
But then there is that 1%. They are the annoying, unbearable, stubborn and obnoxious who somehow find a way to rain on everyone else's parade.
So here is my list of the most annoying theatre fans out there. I'll also be first to admit I've slid into some of these categories myself at one time or another.
The "Stuck in the Past"
While I will be the first to acknowledge that there have been Golden Ages of musical theatre in the past, I am also open to the idea that there could be some in the future, or we could be living in one right now. The "Stuck in the Past" fan is someone who refuses to admit that and believes nothing will ever come close to material produced decades ago.
"Hamilton might be good but it will never come close 1776."
"Pasek & Paul aren't real musical theatre composers, but Rodgers & Hammerstein? Those were the real composers."
These are the types of comments you're going to hear from them. They'll also be the first to use your age against you as if it's your fault you weren't born decades before. Now before you assume that the "Stuck in the Past" fan is someone who is always elderly, who actually lived during that era, you would be wrong. There are plenty of younger "Stuck in the Past" fans as well which is both incredibly confusing and pretentious.
There is also the flip side to this with fans who refuse to admit anything in the past measures up to today's standards. Clearly, they're not wine drinkers.
The "Karaoke Contestant"
If you're lucky, chances are you've seen your favorite musical multiple times. Added with the likelihood that you've also bought the cast recording, you probably know every word of every song in the show. Going to see the show live is not the right time to test your memorization. Nor is it a good time to unleash your vocal stylings to the folks sitting near you.
Unless prompted, live theatre isn't a sing-along. No one in that audience is paying to hear you sing along with the cast or worse yet, a solo. I don't care if you think you can do it better. If you can't, you're ruining someone else's enjoyment of a performance. If you actually can, it still doesn't matter because you're ruining someone else's enjoyment of a performance.
I was recently at a performance of "Anastasia" and there was a woman behind me who felt that "Journey to the Past" was somehow a duet. Christy Altomore doesn't need your help, she's got this. As does every other performer on stage. Let them do their job, it's our job as an audience to sit back and take it all in.
The "Negative Nelly"
No offense to anyone named Nelly. But these are the fans that upon exiting the theatre are the first to pick apart what they just saw in the most negative fashion imaginable. Worse yet, they complain about a minuscule element that somehow ruined the entire performance for them. Whether it was the use of wig, a particular lighting cue, choice of pants, that singular thing made the rest of the show apparently awful. These are folks who I will use every excuse in the book not to have post-show drinks with.
The "Everything that [NAME] does is great...EVERYTHING!"
You know exactly who I'm talking about don't you? You might even be one. These are the fans that are so infatuated with everything an actor or director or writer or composer does, that they are incapable of falling short of brilliance. The "Everything that [Lin-Manuel Miranda] does is great...EVERYTHING!" will call you a moron if you didn't like the songs in "Moana". The "Everything that [Patti LuPone] does is great...EVERYTHING!" will point out that you obviously know nothing about the nuances of acting if you didn't feel her performance in "War Paint" ranked up there with "Evita".
No one is infallible. Yet, the "Everything that [NAME] does is great...EVERYTHING!" fans sure like to believe the opposite.
I love theatre but I know it's an acquired taste. Not everyone is going to love it and I'm okay with that. However, that just cannot stand with "The Missionary" and they will set upon this earth with the mission of converting everyone into theatre loving fanatics just like them.
They will be the ones that force you to listen to cast recordings telling you that you'll love it. They compare all your favorite movies and TV shows to plays and musicals. They'll surprise you with theatre tickets to shows you don't want to see. And the worst part is, they just can't accept that there's a chance you're just not into live theatre.
The "High Score"
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and when you mention you've seen a particular show, they interject that they saw it more times than you and therefore their fandom runs deeper than yours? These people are just the worst. I guess since I've only seen "Dear Evan Hansen" once as opposed to someone who has seen it six times, they are the better fans. God I hate these people.
The "Plays are boring/Musicals are Stupid"
You know these people. They're the ones that feel anything with singing and dancing will never truthfully show the depth of human nuance. They are also the ones that feel that plays are too "wordy". And even worse, they refuse to see the other to be proven wrong. I agree that plays and musicals might not be for everyone but don't put down the entire artform because it's not for you.
The "Social Media Stalkers"
Very simple. Performers have lives too. When they leave the theatre, leave them alone. Fans who stalk them online are creepy, weird and it's out of line.
The "Golden Rules Breaker"
I've always said that that no real theatre fan would answer the phone during a performance but I've been proven wrong time and time again. Given how often we see shows, we all know that this is something that shouldn't happen, especially not with us. If someone who has never been to the theatr before has their phone go off, so be it. But for folks who see theatre on a regular basis, you know better.
I'm sure there are plenty more than this, I would love to hear some of yours.