I assume Jack Smith was kidding in his recent column on applauding during concerts--either that or trying to generate material for future columns. There are sound reasons behind the etiquette of not clapping between movements: It is very distracting to performers, not to mention members of the audience who are there to appreciate the music. A musical composition divided into parts is still an entity that is more than individual parts. Schumann's "Papillons" is divided into 12 parts, each leading into the next and repeating and interweaving themes. Frequent applause would destroy it.
It would be equally distracting at the theater to applaud whenever there was a momentary pause in a serious play; concentration is shattered.
One Orange County resident remarked that he clapped at ball games, and he'd clap at the Performing Arts Center when he felt like it: He'd paid his money and was going to have fun. (This was reported in The Times shortly after the center opened, when some artists were upset by the undisciplined applause.)
I suppose he has a point; once you've hired entertainers you can treat them as you like. If you're having fun, what's the point of courtesy?
I would suggest that Orange County residents not venture east of Texas; they might find themselves leaving the concert hall under escort.