Flagship or Dreadnought: Regional Theaters in America

With the recent blog by Annah Feinberg currently making the circuit, it seems a good time to chronicle the regional theater “movement.”

1910-1930s: The “Little Theatre Movement.” Few paid artists, but it reflected a community need. Killed by the Depression/WWII.

1947: Dallas – Margo Jones founded Theatre ’47.

1950: Washington, D.C. – Zelda Fichandler founded Arena Stage.

1959: Tyrone Guthrie placed an ad in The New York Times. Asked if any communities wanted to sponsor a resident theatre. 1963 – Guthrie Theatre opens in Minneapolis.

But this did not become a “movement” until the late ’60s when some plays moved from regionals to Broadway, turning many regional theater companies into minor-league baseball clubs.

People outside New York want to experience great plays relevant to their lives.

Unwieldy regionals often gauge success in the form of plays transferring to Broadway.

Irony or disconnect?

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One response

  1. MICHAEL BOLLINGER | Reply

    Disconnect in losing the goal of serving their communities….Trying to move a show to Bway, if successfully managed, can help regional theatre gain fame &/or funds which….if egos & new found revenue are managed well, would help elevate the quality of their production while getting back to roots.

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