The Buzz Over Revivals

The old is often brand new on Broadway. That is, when a revival comes back to the stage. Revivals often stir up a mixture of feelings, especially if you have a strong opinion about the original. But revivals can be genuinely great shows, and they can be a lot of fun to go and enjoy in person. Broadway tickets go fast, and that might be even more the case when it comes to revivals. If you’re thinking of going to go see a show, revival or not, be sure to secure your tickets well ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry about last minute details.

So, what’s all the fuss about?

Simply put, a revival is a relaunch of an older show. We see this constantly with movies and television shows nowadays, but a revival on Broadway is fairly different in the sense that it doesn’t change much. The script and music are kept the same (for the most part), but the big difference is that the set design and production have changed. Typically, these shows benefit from the modernization of the set and the stage effects that can be introduced.

Take a show like Les Miserables for example. The show originally launched on Broadway in 1987. The revival of the show then began in 2006. In that span of nearly 20 years, there were a lot of developments in the field of technology. The story could be told again, but in a much more effective manner than before thanks to those improvements. In fact, the revival was so strong that it became incredibly popular to a whole new generation of theater and literature fans.

Les Mis isn’t the only show that has been brought back into the public’s attention. There have been many revivals over the years. Some of them have been very successful, while others have faded away without much fanfare. As you might have suspected, not all Broadway revivals are equal. Some are very well done, and some are notoriously bad. If you’re going to catch a revival, you want to make sure that you are seeing one that fits in the first category, and not the second. This is why online reviews can be so helpful—especially if you check out a variety of experts. Getting the opinion of others, whether they be professional theater critics or not, is a good way to gauge whether or not you will enjoy the show yourself.

One of the coolest things about revivals is that there is often a Hollywood film involved somehow. Think about shows like Evita, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, and Chicago. All of them had hugely successful revivals, and they either inspired or were inspired by a Hollywood rendition of the show. A successful film does not necessarily equal a successful stage performance, but it can help encourage the other and increase popularity.

The bottom line is that if you’re thinking of catching a show that is not an original, you want to give it the same consideration that you would if it were the original cast performing it. Revivals can be breathtakingly different and equally powerful as the original. If you’re looking for tickets to see a revival, there will likely be that same demand as there would be for any other big name show. In fact, in the opening days of a major revival, tickets might even be harder to find. Be sure to check out the usual sources such as StubHub and SeatGeek to find the best seats you can get. Revivals might not be originals, but that doesn’t mean that their tickets won’t sell out.

How to Know When Local Productions are Having Casting Calls

If you’re a theater lover, there are many opportunities for you to not just take in a local show, but maybe even star in one yourself. Whether you’re an experienced actor, haven’t been on the stage since your school days, or it’s just something you’ve wanted to try out but never have, acting in a show can be an amazing experience. Luckily, many local groups have open casting calls that allow you to audition and perhaps get a role. Knowing when these events are happening can be tricky if you’ve never tried to find this out before.

Local Advertisements

Local newspapers and fliers will more than likely be the main way that local production companies let the community know about open casting calls. For example, if a community stage group has a casting call coming up, you can find out about it in local publications—usually in the arts or community sections.

You might even find posters or ads up in highly frequented areas, like libraries, community centers, grocery stores, and other shops. The bottom line is that if you’re looking to act in a play, you need to keep your eyes open so that you have a better idea of what is going on in your community and when.

Check Online

Your local theater groups probably have an online presence. It is the 21st century, after all! They might have their own website with news updates on it, but if not, they more than likely use Facebook to communicate with members and fans. Whatever method of online communication that your local theater groups use, they will more than likely update their online platform first. If possible, signup for alerts, too. This way, you can be the first to know whenever changes are made.

Local groups might even have a mailing list that you can signup for. So, if the company is currently in the middle of a show, this way you can get the updates not just on future casting calls, but whatever else might be happening behind the scenes, too.

Be Proactive

Finally, if you are unsure of when the next casting calls are occurring after trying out all of the above methods, start asking around. If you’re a theater fan, you probably have friends who are theater fans, too. Ask them if they have this information. If they don’t, escalate it the next level. Go onto the websites or Facebook pages and look for the contact information of those in leadership positions. Send out a message or an email and ask. It might take a few days for them to get back to you, especially if it is a busy time of the year for them. However, when all else fails, this becomes your last choice.

Taking part in a play and being up on the stage is one of those thrills that can never be replicated any other way. You don’t need to be a professional actor to get up on the stage, and you don’t even need to have experience. Odds are, there are plenty of opportunities in your community for a beginning actor, and the local stage is one of the best ways to get your toes wet as a thespian.

What does 2018 have in store for the local theater scene?

What Do You Want to See

Well, that’s a question that is going to be more accurately answered by looking at your individual community, but there are some general trends that we can point to that are true of many communities across the country. For example, thanks to Hamilton, innovative takes on historical themes are very popular right now. That means that classics with a historical leaning like Les Miserables and Miss Saigon are seeing a resurgence in popularity.

It would be unfair to not mention that Hamilton is also influencing a lot of playwrights at the moment. The catch rap music that is at the core of Hamilton has given many local writers a lot of inspiration, so do not be surprised if you see this type of music making its way into other genres of musical at the local level. Some of these will be surprisingly good and groundbreaking, while other productions might fail. However, the influence of that play cannot be understated, so this is a trend that is likely to continue into the 2018 calendar year.

Disney productions are also in right now. A lot of local organizations have announced their renditions of Disney tales for the 2018 season, and there’s no surprise here, either. The resurgence of the Disney label ever since Frozen came out in the theaters has been huge, and since this has been a part of the theater for ages, it’s only natural that the local theater reflects what’s going on in culture. Classics like Pinocchio, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and even Newsies are all affiliated with Disney, and all are gaining popularity at the local level. And, of course, there are the Broadway shows Aladdin and The Lion King that are still quite popular. While we might not see those ones at the local level yet, they are only a few years away from happening.

Speaking of social trends, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention plays like Dear Evan Hansen. This is a musical about bullying, suicide, and trying to fit in with your peers. This has been something that’s been in the news a lot, unfortunately, and it was only a matter of time before it was addressed in an artful and tasteful manner on Broadway. Yes, this is a tough play for some to watch, but it has important themes. Local theaters won’t be tackling this play yet as it is still fairly new on Broadway, but variations of this theme might be making their way to your neighborhood. This is an important issue to be addressed, and Broadway might be a leader in the theater business, but this is not the only place where tough topics can be discussed.

And finally, don’t forget about the classics. They are classics for a reason, after all. Whether it’s the musical or the dramatic variety, certain titles just never go out of style. The Pajama Game, Cats, Fiddler on the Roof, and more are certain to never fade away, and local theater carries the torch for these all the time. They are great shows and the local theater always provides a unique take on them.