Despite the presence of Netflix, Americans continue to enjoy visiting the theater for live productions. According to a 2012 survey conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts, one in three Americans attended a performing art event in the year preceding the poll. Although most theater attendance takes place in viewers’ hometowns, there is plenty of appeal to taking a theater-based vacation. Next time you tour the East Coast, consider stopping by the theater highlights of Boston, Philadelphia and, of course, New York City.
Brooks Atkinson Theatre – New York, New York
Originally referred to as the Mansfield Theater, this popular New York City Broadway venue was renamed in 1960 in order to honor a popular New York Times critic. The next year, Neil Simon’s first play, “Come Blow Your Horn” debuted at the Brooks Atkinson, according to “TimeOut.” Since then, it has played host to such blockbusters as “Noises Off,” “Jane Eyre” and “Rock of Ages.” A number of prominent revivals have also taken place at Brooks Atkinson, including “Medea,” “Jumper” and “The Odd Couple.” With such an excellent offering of performances, it’s no wonder the Brooks Atkinson Theatre remains such a popular destination for both locals and tourists investing in Broadway theater tickets.
Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre – Boston, Massachusetts
Boston’s Colonial Theatre boasts well over 100 years of offering up some of the best talent on the East Coast. This makes it, as “Explore Boston” points out, the oldest continuously operating theater in all of New England. Designed by the talented Clarence Blackall, the 1,700 seat venue first played host to “Ben-Hur” in December of 1900. Since then, the Colonial Theatre has been highly regarded as a launching pad for up-and-coming hits. Many a visitor has later been able to proudly claim that he or she enjoyed a popular Broadway spectacle before it ever hit Broadway.
Walnut Street Theatre – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If you wish to partake in a truly memorable theater spectacle, you’ll definitely want to check out Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theater. Opened in 1809, the Walnut Street Theatre boasts the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating theater in the English-speaking world! The venue possesses three main stages, including the Mainstage for large productions, as well as the more intimate Independence Studio and Studio 5. Despite its historic appeal, recent productions such as “Finian’s Rainbow” and “Fallen Angels” ensure that the theater remains just as fresh and exciting as it was in the 1800s. Perhaps this explains why “Philadelphia Life” claims that the venue is only getting better as it ages.
Forrest Theatre – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Also located on Philadelphia’s impressive Walnut Street, the Forrest Theatre is named after the famous actor Edwin Forrest. First opened in 1928, the stunning venue was designed by Herbert J. Krapp. It remains a popular stop for those exploring Philadelphia’s many architectural offerings, but the true delights of the theater lie inside, where more than 1,800 guests can enjoy hit musicals that have recently blown up the Broadway scene. “Fodors” recommends the Forrest Theatre as the best place to catch Broadway plays in Philadelphia, pointing to “Flashdance” and “The Book of Mormon” as particular favorites.
Author Bio: Audrey Ferguson, a New York native, got an English degree, married a general contractor and went to work running the company blog.