Broadway isn’t the only place to catch a great show. Discover the best regional theatres nationwide, with performances from drama to musicals that have garnered these theatres national distinction.
As Minnesota’s only professional African-American theatre, Penumbra Theatre Company offers a full season of performances -- one of only 3 theaters of its kind nationwide to do so. The theatre has helped launch the careers of noted playwrights, including August Wilson.
Founded in 1959, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park was one of the first regional theatres in the US. In 2004, the Playhouse received its highest honor: a Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre. In 2007, it won its second Tony Award for the musical comedy <i>Company</i>.
Known locally as “The Plex,” the Denver Performing Arts Complex is home to a Tony Award-winning theatre company -- a distinction it received in 1998. Then in 2011, the theatre was chosen to launch the national touring debut of <i>The Book of Mormon</i> by Colorado’s own Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
The Berkeley Repertory Theatre has seen several of its plays hit the NYC stage, including <i>Bridge & Tunnel</i> in 2006, <i>Brundibar</i> in 2007 and<i>Passing Strange</i> in 2008. The company also won the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 1997.
Founded in 1968, the Alliance Theatre is the largest regional theatre in the Southeast. The Alliance showcases 10 productions each year (past productions have included <i>The Color Purple</i> and <i>Sister Act the Musical</i>. In 2007, Alliance won the Regional Theatre Tony Award.
Tucked in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the Blackfriars Playhouse is the world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s original indoor theatre. The 300-seat playhouse opened in September 2001, and showcases Shakespeare productions year-round.
The Goodman Theatre has been a Chicago fixture for more than 8 decades. As the city’s oldest active theatre of its kind, Goodman’s accolades include a 1992 Regional Theatre Tony Award -- an honor that 3 other Chicago-based companies have also received, making Chicago the most recognized city in the US for this honor.
With a focus on musical theater, Goodspeed Musicals has a rich history: It was the first performance venue for the musical <i>Annie.</i> Since 1968, the Goodspeed has seen 19 productions transfer to Broadway. The theatre company has also won more than a dozen Tony Awards.
Sure, Las Vegas is known for theatrics, but theatre? You bet! The Smith Center for the Performing Arts opened in March 2012. Its performances of Broadway shows include <i>Mary Poppins</i> and <i>The Color Purple</i>.
Head to downtown Houston to catch a play at the Alley Theatre. The Tony Award-winning indoor theatre has been the venue for an eclectic array of plays, from <i>A Christmas Carol</i> to <i>Death of a Salesman</i>.
One of the busiest cultural centers in the US, the McCarter Theatre showcases more than 200 performances a year. Two of the theatre’s productions moved to Broadway in 2006, where they were nominated for Tony Awards.
For the past 60 years, Arena Stage has maintained a focus on “theater of the Americas,” producing American classics and new works, such as <i>One Night With Janis Joplin</i>. The production company has also received the Tony Award for best regional theatre.
Founded in 1966, “The Rep” was one of the first acclaimed regional theatres in the US. Located on Yale’s downtown campus, the company’s productions have garnered both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award.
America’s oldest theatre finds its home in Philadelphia’s Washington Square West neighborhood. The building was built by America’s first circus theatre company in 1809, and initially featured classical plays as well as displays of circus horsemanship. Today, the company maintains its 200-plus-year-old tradition, putting on 5 productions a season on its main stage.
The recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, this theatre in Boston’s historic South End has proved a launching point for nationally recognized plays: Since its opening in 1982, the theatre has transferred 16 productions to New York, including 2 in 2012.