We all know and love the shows that end up on Broadway, West End, and in touring cities. They are the most publicized and typically thought of as the best that theatre has to offer. Because of this, many forget about some of the amazing performances and performers that can be seen from Off-Broadway all the way to a community or high school show. The idea of the best theatre can be found with the heftiest price tag is far from true – you’ll find that the best theatre might be closer to you than you think, and it might not even be on Broadway!
There’s a ton of reasons why a show may never make it to Broadway or even try to get to the Great White Way in the first place. It may not have gotten good reviews during its out-of-town tryout or made enough money to support a Broadway transfer, or the production team may have no interest at all to bring it to Broadway. None of these scenarios means it’s a bad show in any way.
There are only 40 theatres on Broadway meaning that at any given time, and only that many plays and musicals can be represented at that time. There aren’t only 40 good shows in the world and certainly not only 40 shows worth of incredible actors, dancers, singers, designers, directors, and stagehands. Incredible talent can be found in all forms of theatre, not just the most expensive ones.
One of the greatest theatre experiences I’ve ever had was watching a performance at a community theatre in Los Angeles. The cast and creatives were all volunteers and the show had a very low budget overall. Despite not having the resources to create elaborate sets or beautiful costumes nor having the luxury of rehearsing as much as a professional company would, it was one of the funniest, most thought provoking shows I’ve ever seen. There’s something to be said about a company that can beautifully convey a story with limited resources. Shows like these may even seem better than something on Broadway since they can’t rely on flashy designs and tend to be less concerned with getting million of people to buy tickets and are able to focus on putting on an amazing show.
Not only can shows created and produced right near your own home be gorgeous works of art, but attending theatre locally helps support those arts in your community. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have my high school and community theatre experience. Supporting these groups is the first step to getting talent to Broadway or on the big screen, because those involved in community theatre productions are the stars of tomorrow, so support them while they’re a few miles away from you! Another reason to support arts within your community is that it gives kids and people with other jobs and talents a chance to be involved with an amazing art form.
Although it may not seem as glamorous to attend a small town production, it’s one of the best ways to support local arts and be able to see amazing shows that you may never have had a chance to see otherwise.