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National Tour Vs Regional Theater

National Tour Vs Regional Theater

BwayLB
#1National Tour Vs Regional Theater
Posted: 9/20/23 at 10:03am

Before COVID hit, I went to more national tours than regional productions. The last national tour I saw was Anastasia in Costa Mesa. Then after masks were considered optional but not mandatory, I’ve gone to La Mirada Theater to see The Sound of Music, Young Frankenstein, Grease and most recently Joseph. So now I would like to have a debate. Does anyone prefer touring or regional productions? I’m open to your opinions

jimmycurry01
#2National Tour Vs Regional Theater
Posted: 9/20/23 at 10:51am

I attend a fair number of tours and regional productions. The talent pool is often the same for each, especially for the bigger regional houses. When I lived in the Chicago area, regional houses often had productions that were as good, and sometimes better, than what you would see on tour. Living in central Indiana, both regional theatre and touring productions can be hit and miss.

Indianapolis, Bloomington, and West Lafayette  are not first tier markets for tours. They are often non-equity, and some (Legally Blonde, I'm looking at you) have atrocious production values, especially for the prices paid. Indianapolis Repertory Theatre, on the other hand, always has quality productions. The problem there is that the seasons are often dull and feature shows that can be real snooze-fests. last season's Sense and Sensibility stands out as being especially sleepy. Although,  I have seen some truly great stuff there as well. Beef and Boards offers more butts-in-seats shows, but the production quality can vary a bit.

In all honesty, I have been preferring to see the productions put on by the various university theatre departments as of late. They have more bang for the buck, attending supports the education of future theatre workers, and some are just damn good. IU, Purdue, and Ball State have some truly gifted young professionals entering the industry.

To answer your question, I think that there isn't a preference for me of one over the other. It will depend entirely on the production that is being produced. I can tell you that I am all but certain that the upcoming regional production of Legally Blonde will almost certainly be better than the tour that has been crossing the country as of late.

BwayLB
#3National Tour Vs Regional Theater
Posted: 9/20/23 at 11:02am

^ Well in that case, I’m overdue to revisit Legally Blonde. I saw the MTV proshot but not the national tour. I regret it now that I’m older

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Scarywarhol
#4National Tour Vs Regional Theater
Posted: 9/20/23 at 11:19am

Regional theater has as many problems as Broadway, but I nearly always prefer a regional production to a tour. A lot of that has to do with venues--so often tours are in spaces that absolutely dwarf the productions and encourage the kind of flat theme park quality that can creep in over long runs. A regional will almost always be fresher and it is bespoke to the (usually much more intimate) space. Also less likely to get cruise ship-y tribute concert shows taking up half the season. 

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Kitsune
#5National Tour Vs Regional Theater
Posted: 9/20/23 at 11:48am

Scarywarhol said: "Regional theater has as many problems as Broadway, but I nearly always prefer a regional production to a tour. A lot of that has to do with venues--so often tours are in spaces that absolutely dwarf the productions and encourage the kind of flat theme park quality that can creep in over long runs. A regional will almost always be fresher and it is bespoke to the (usually much more intimate) space. Also less likely to get cruise ship-y tribute concert shows taking up half the season."

I was just about to say the same thing. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the two theaters most often used for touring productions are huge, and IMO too big for most productions that come through.

Given I live on the opposite side of the country from New York, the Bay Area has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to regional theaters. I really enjoy San Francisco Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, 42nd Street Moon, Shotgun Players, etc. They can be hit or miss depending on the production, but at least they're more affordable than the touring productions.

That being said, I see plenty of things that come through Broadway SF as well.

KevinKlawitter
#6National Tour Vs Regional Theater
Posted: 9/20/23 at 12:39pm

I live in rural Minnesota, so I try to see as much of the regional/community theatre as possible in my area, and I also go to the Twin Cities to see theatre - often tours - there every other month or so.

Both have their charms - it's true (as mentioned above) that tours are often in spaces that don't fit them (the recent tour of Oklahoma! was notably hurt by that) while regional shows are fit to their venue, but tours also have resources and talent that are not always available to regional shows. I can't say I prefer one over the other.

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dramamama611
#7National Tour Vs Regional Theater
Posted: 9/20/23 at 2:07pm

Regional, by a landslide. It usually isn't just pigeonholing actors into the prestablished choices. Here in Boston, we've got a good amount of regional theater with a terrific mix of new work as well as new looks at recent broadwayway shows. (Fat Ham, for example)


If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.

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uncageg
#8National Tour Vs Regional Theater
Posted: 9/20/23 at 2:26pm

I am looking forward to attending regional theater again since I moved. I haven't seen any in almost 12 years. The last thing I saw regionally was a stellar production of "A Little Night Music" at the Central City Opera House. There is a production of it running here now but not sure I want to see it after enjoying the Opera House's production so much.


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