never been to a dinner theatre before. What should I expect?
First and foremost, you should expect to have
a good time. Basically, it's like going out for the evening to dinner and a
show, except it's all in one convenient location. At WOB, you get a great
dinner followed by a full Broadway-style show right after dessert. In
addition, your servers are the actors that you see up on stage so you'll
have a chance to meet and talk with them before they perform for you.
After you arrive at the theatre and check in at the Box Office, you are
taken to your table. Your server takes care of your drink orders and
explains how the buffet works, what's available, when you can go to what
lines, etc. Just after dessert, your server takes drink orders for the first
act, as well as drink orders for intermission and delivers a check to you.
Then the server RUNS backstage to get ready for the show. You watch
the first act. At intermission, your server settles your bill, delivers your
intermission drinks, and makes sure you're ready for the second act. They
then run backstage, the lights go down, and the second act begins. The show
ends (usually around 10:30) and you file out with a full belly and a smile
on your face.
Now, there are a couple of differences from a normal restaurant situation.
The biggest thing is the time table. At 7:30 (1:30 for matinees), your
waiter will need to finish up on the floor and head backstage to get ready
for the show. We're not
trying to rush you or be pushy. It's just that we want to start the
Where the devil are you?
How do gratuities work at a dinner theatre?
This is one of those thorny topics that some people feel strongly about. But
we thought we'd go ahead and let you know what's customary. You can take it
from there. Like any restaurant, a gratuity is a normal part of your
service. Obviously, what you leave for your server is entirely up to you.
And tipping your server at a dinner theatre works pretty much like anyplace
else, but there are a few differences. First, your server is a member of the
cast or crew of the production you are seeing and is working primarily for
gratuities extended by you. Unlike a normal restaurant, waiters at WOB do
not receive an hourly wage. Nor do they have a constant flow of customers
coming and going all night long. They have one group of people they wait on
each night. They provide wait service for you, and then they entertain you.
It's customary to tip 15% of your ticket price and bar tab at a dinner
theatre, but many of our patrons tip a lot more than that (bless their
gracious hearts). We also like to let guests know before they arrive that
gratuity cannot be put on a credit card.
What should I wear?
We certainly ask that you do wear SOMETHING! Actually,
BUSINESS CASUAL is the usual dress of the day. We do ask that you respect
the theatre. Jeans, T-shirts, and/or shorts ARE NOT permitted at Mainstage
What time does the show start and when should I
depends on the day and whether you're seeing one of our Mainstage
performances or one of our Children's Theatre shows. Here's a list of
How can I purchase tickets?
purchase tickets for any of our performances or special events, you can stop
by the theatre during regular Box Office hours or call (301) 662-6600.
It may sound old fashioned, but every now and again, it is nice to talk with
a real live human being. Plus, the Box Office will always have the most
accurate and up-to-date information about the shows and performance
have to purchase tickets in advance?
is always a good idea to get tickets before showing up at the theatre. Many
of our shows sell out and we would hate to have you travel to the theatre
only to be turned away because we didn't have any seats available. This is
especially true for our Children's Theatre performances.
far in advance should I get my tickets?
is easy: As soon as you know the date you want to come see the show. The
worst thing you can do is wait until the last minute only to find out a show
you really wanted to see is sold out for the rest of the run. So don't wait.
Of specific note are our Christmas productions. They can sell out before the
show even opens, so start thinking about your holiday plans in the fall!
How did I end up in the back row?!?!
There are two ways to influence being closer to the stage. The easiest way
is to become a Season
Our subscribers always get preferred seating. (There's more info. in the
Subscriber FAQs below.) The other way is to get your tickets early. After
subscribers’ tables are set, the other tables are assigned in the order the
reservations were made and tickets were purchased. The earlier you reserve,
the closer to the stage you are. But with only five rows of tables and no
obstructed view, there is not a bad seat in the house and some guests prefer
sitting a little further back from the stage.
made a reservation, but my mother-in-law dropped in for the weekend. Can we
Like almost every theatre, there are no cancellations, refunds, or exchanges
once you have purchased your tickets. We've tried lots of different ways
around this, but they all end up causing too many problems. Please check out
the rest of our Reservation Policies by clicking
I assume that all shows are appropriate for the entire family?
produces a wide variety of productions each year. Some of these shows are
perfect for the whole family to enjoy, while others may be a little more
mature in nature. If that is the case, the Box Office will always try to give
you a little heads-up if your ticket purchase includes children. In general
though, we do find that young children sometimes have trouble sitting
through dinner and a full Mainstage performance.
So how young is too young?
This is another one of those dicey questions that can lead to hurt feelings
if not handled properly. And the answer is different for our Mainstage and
Children's Theatre productions. For both types of shows, we discourage our
patrons from bringing children that are too young to sit in a seat by
themselves. We don't have high chairs, but we do have a few booster
seats. And the Fire Marshall does not allow us to park strollers in the
aisles. Let's face it. The point of going to theatre is to be entertained by
the people on the stage. If your youngster is too young to understand what's
going on, then there's always the risk that the little one will get fussy and you'll
end up walking him/her back and forth in the lobby. For the Children's
Theatre, this isn't quite as big a deal. The show is only an hour long
and geared for ages 3 - 12. We
strive to do shows that encourage a certain amount of audience
participation. In other words, people expect a certain amount of
noise from the audience at the children's shows.
The Mainstage is a slightly different story. If you don't think your child
can sit through an hour and a half of dinner followed by a show that runs an
additional two to two and a half hours, then you probably want to hire a
baby sitter for the evening. Some kids handle this type of setting better
than others. Of course, we've run across a couple of adults over the age of
30 who can't do that. So maybe age isn't the delineating factor here . . .
The bottom line is this: For the Mainstage, children five and younger are
not permitted in the theatre. If your child is older than five, we trust our
patrons will do what they think is best for their families, as well as for
the people around them. After all, you know your children better than we do.
What is a Season Subscriber?
Season Subscriber is someone who has decided
to show their support for the theatre by buying one ticket for each show up
front. Subscribers are really the heart of any dinner theatre. It means we
have a steady base of supporters that we know will be coming to our
shows. It means there is a group of people out there who like what
we're doing and know they're going to have a good time when they come
to see us.
What's in it for me?
Here's what being a subscriber means for you. First (and probably foremost),
buying your tickets up front and in advance of the season opening gives you a pretty significant price break on a Mainstage ticket. So if you know you're going to visit us more than once in
a season, why not buy tickets in advance and save some money?
A price break isn't all you get. Subscribers
also get preferred seating. Under normal conditions, we assign seating
according to the date of the reservation. We start in the front row and work
back. The exception to this is that subscribers are assigned ahead of the
pack. That means, unless a subscriber tells us differently, they'll be
assigned a table towards the front.
Subscribers also have the ability to reschedule their reservation if
something unexpected comes up. As a subscriber, you have until 2 days prior
to your scheduled performance to move your tickets.
Where can I find out more?
I just looked at your Subscription page and it told me
I was too late.
Well, then you are. Since a subscription gives you one ticket for use with
each show, we have to sell the subscriptions prior to the beginning
of the season. That means that subscriptions for the next season generally
go on sale during the run of the fourth show of the current season, if not a
little bit earlier. If you're on our E-Bulletin list, which you can sign up
for at the bottom of this page, you'll be one of the very first to hear
about each new season. If you're not on our E-Bulletin list,
you'll have to make a note on your calendar to give us a call sometime in
How do I find out about auditions?
This website is the first place audition information will be posted,
naturally, on our
Audition Page. We also
list them in the area’s newspapers and various casting websites. But this is
where you'll see it first. It'll also be the place that gives you the most
information on what's expected. We always post information about auditions
in plenty of time for you to prepare; usually several weeks in front
of the actual audition date. Just check back every couple of weeks to see if
there's anything new.
If I send you an E-mail and ask real nice, will you
send me an E-mail whenever you're having auditions?
do have an Audition E-Bulletin list to notify performers of upcoming
auditions. All you need to do is send an E-mail to WOB@wayoffbroadway.com
with your name and E-mail address, and we would be happy to add you to the
list so you can always be one of the first to know about auditions.
You can also sign up for this list by submitting your E-mail below.
What can I expect during an audition?
Obviously, the answer to that question will depend on the show and the role
you're auditioning for. In general, our audition process is pretty
basic. Just show up at auditions with a head shot, a resume, and a calendar
that reminds you of all the things you have planned during the rehearsal
period and the performance dates. The calendar is especially important
because we'll want to know when a potential cast member is unavailable for
rehearsals and performances. You will be asked to write those dates on a
form that everyone fills out. When all the paperwork is done, people will be
brought in one at a time to sing for the director, music director,
producers, and the
rest of the production team. (Unless, of course, the show you're auditioning
for isn't a musical. In which case, you won't need to sing.) That means you
should prepare a song and bring sheet music with you. We'll provide the
accompanist. After a certain number of people have sung (if singing is
necessary), groups of people will be brought in to read selections from the
script. If it's a musical with dancing, and you're auditioning for a dancing
role, you'll be put through some choreography auditions. If there's ever
anything more required of you at an audition, it'll be noted in the audition
notices. A few days after auditions, maybe a week later (usually not too longer
than that), if you're cast you'll get a phone call offering you a role. If
you're not cast, you will not hear from us. For those of you new to
this process, that last part might seem a little cold. But it’s pretty
standard, so you might want to get used to it. It's strictly a business
Does WOB pre-cast?
In fact, some shows are entirely pre-cast. But it’s safe to say that most of
the time, all roles are open. If we hold auditions for a show in which one
or more parts are pre-cast, we'll say so in the audition notice.
Do you cast people you've never worked with before? Or
do I have to audition a million times before you'll even think about
Actually, WOB is very proud of the fact that we cast new faces all the time.
So come on down! If you're the best person for the role, then you'll be cast
regardless of whether we've seen you before or not.
How many performances a week are there?
Primarily, WOB holds performances on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Sometimes, we'll have a large group book a special performance on a weekday
night or afternoon. If we know about those dates prior to auditions, they'll
be listed as performance dates on a sheet that will be handed to you when
you audition. If you have a conflict with any of the shows on that sheet,
you'll be expected to note them on the audition form. Otherwise, if you're
cast, we're expecting you to be available. Shows will not be added
after a show is cast unless it’s cleared with the cast first.
Your shows run for two or three months! What if I have
vacation plans or something? Should I not bother with auditions?
no, no. Having to miss performances or rehearsals does not automatically eliminate you
from consideration for a role; we do cast swings, understudies, and standbys
if we know we're casting someone who has to miss certain performances.
Are performers paid at WOB?
There are two ways you earn money at WOB: Through your performances and by
working the various staff positions required to handle the "Dinner" part of
the "Dinner Theatre." At WOB, you're paid a small stipend for each
performance. The rest of your money comes from waiting, bussing, and/or
bartending. Waiters' compensation consists entirely of gratuities. Bussers
and bartenders receive a small stipend in their paychecks plus a percentage
of whatever their waiters make. There are lots of rules and regs surrounding
these various practices; all of them will be explained prior to the opening
of the show by WOB’s Bar Manager. You will be expected to go through at
least one training run on all positions you wish to perform. Of course,
there's nothing that says you have to work on staff. If you just want
to perform on stage, that's perfectly OK.
What's it like working at WOB?
Mostly, it’s like working anyplace else. We work hard and we play hard. As a
former cast member once said, “We take our fun seriously.” Sometimes it's
hard to tell the difference between the work and the play but Way Off
Broadway is a business. We try to foster
a family spirit both in the dining area and on stage. There are some
regulars who spend so much time around each other that we've all become a
second family to one other. But we always keep new faces around to keep
things from getting moldy. People who come to work with a positive attitude,
a good work ethic, and knowing their ‘stuff’ will be welcomed with open
arms. Those who constantly slack off, whine, complain, and generally don't
play well with others . . . well . . . no need to go into that. We don't get
many of that type anyway. But it’s fun. It really is.