Buying theatre tickets: balcony towards front or orchestra towards rear, which is better?

IMHO, but since it’s about theatre I’ll put it in Cafe Society.

I’m shopping for theater tickets on Ticketmaster’s seating charts. The venue has a balcony with an overhang that starts above Row P of the Orchestra.

There are tickets available in Row AA of the Orchestra, and there are tickets available in Row F of the Balcony (First Dress Circle [there is a Loge]). They are the same price; the tickets in the Balcony seem to be closer to the stage, but they’re on a higher level.

I know you’d have to know the actual theater for the sure answer, but in general, do you have a preference re: near the front of the Dress Circle vs. near the rear of the Orchestra section?
(I started to add a poll but I don’t anticipate enough response to warrant one. :wink: )

Front row of the balcony

Front row, balcony…no question.

In the situation you describe, I’d prefer the balcony.

Balcony is better. The extra height gives a better view.

Balcony. Better view and better sound. Especially since those orchestra seats are probably under the balcony, which noticeably affects the sound quality (detrimentally).

Not only are the balcony seats better, they’re usually cheaper, too, for some reason. I don’t know what it is with theaters and the bad seats being expensive, but it seems fairly consistent.

Front row of the balcony. Of course it varies, but those are generally underrated seats. Are you seeing a straight show? A musical? An opera or a concert?

Another vote for the balcony. Best seats in the house, IME.

(He says the Balcony seats are row F, *not *front row.)
By the use of Balcony, I’m assuming there is also a Mezzanine level? I’ve found that Balconies tend to be very high, front row of the Mezz is usually the best vantage point.

I’m a bit confused though. You say your choice is either near the front of the Balcony or the rear of the Orchestra, but the seats you gave for the Orchestra are row AA. Why don’t you want the front row of the Orchestra?

AA is the 27th row (Rows 1-26 are A-Z, then AA-TT for the next twenty rows.

Because gross. The absolute front row, in my experience is one of the worst seats in the house. Depending on acoustic setup, if they’re using mics, you either can’t hear anything because you’re in front of the speakers, or you’ll go deaf because the sound has to fill the whole space. For theatrical performances, you can really see the artifice involved. Everything looks cheap and painted. (Because it usually is.)

Generally the view from the front of the balcony would be better than from back in the orchestra. However, another good reason to move up there would be comfort.

My wife and I are both somewhat tall, and leg room can be a problem in theatres. At our local community theatre, we won’t sit anywhere in the balcony except for the front row, because those are the only balcony seats that have any leg room at all.

So front of the balcony is usually pretty awesome.

I had an absolute front seat at a production of MISS SAIGON. I was so close I could tell The Engineer [a character, for those not familiar] had a runny nose. Did not enhance the experience.

Given a choice and knowing nothing about the theater? Balcony front.

The front row of the orchestra is usually awful - the sight lines aren’t good (you can often end up staring straight at people’s feet for two hours) and the sound can be weird. If I didn’t know the theater, cost wasn’t an object, and I could have the pick of seats - I’d be about 4-7 rows back, center.

I’ve sat in the front for many many shows, unless the stage was extra high, it would always be my first choice.

Balcony. Unless it curves around the sides, toward the stage, like many boxes do. There, you can see only the front of the stage.