Updated April 17, 2014
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From Encyclopedia Brittanica, –
“Theatre, also spelled theater, in architecture, a building or space in which a performance may be given before an audience. The word is from the Greek theatron, “a place of seeing.” A theatre usually has a stage area where the performance itself takes place. Since ancient times the evolving design of theatres has been determined largely by the spectators’ physical requirements for seeing and hearing the performers and by the changing nature of the activity presented.”
And, from Wikipedia, “Theatre or theater (from Greek theatron – ??????? – from theasthai, “behold”) is the branch of the performing arts concerned with acting out stories in front of an audience using combinations of speech, gesture, music, dance, sound and spectacle – indeed any one or more elements of the other performing arts. In addition to the standard narrative dialogue style, theatre takes such forms as opera, ballet, mime, kabuki, classical Indian dance, Chinese opera and mummers’ plays”.
This year’s Tony Awards gave best musical to Kinky Boots, best play to Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and best musical revival to Pippin, best revival of a play to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, all categories well deserved. Nominations for the 2014 Tonys will be announced on April 29th, and awards will be presented on Sunday, June 8th from Radio City Music Hall.
Recently, New York Times heralded the shocking news of the death of Julie Harris, whom I, along with many others felt was not only Broadway’s most decorated performer with 6 Tony wins, but also the first lady of the American Theatre. I feel fortunate to have seen her many times, notably in Member of the Wedding, Belle of Amherst, Gin Game, I Am a Camera, Country Wife, Warm Peninsula, Little Moon of Alban, Shot in the Dark, her only musical Skyscraper, Forty Carats, Juliet at Stratford, Ontario, Glass Menagerie, and the films “Member of the Wedding,” and “East of Eden,” for which she will always be remembered for her brilliant performance with James Dean.
Also recently, a sad day, indeed, when I heard of the death of John Kerr, he and Deborah Kerr were the name first stars I saw on stage at the Royal Alexandra in Toronto in the early 1950s, taken there after a tour of The Toronto Star building, by our commecial teacher, Mr. Francis Sweeney. I think he was shocked by the subject matter, which at that time, was very thought provoking for a group of us high school students. He said to me, “a very sensitive subject.” I became so very connected to theatre at this time, a desire that has never left me. Today, July 31/13 to hear of the death of Eileen Brennan, who I was privileged to see in Little Mary Sunshine at the Players Theatre, in 1960. What a funny show, and still surprised that it hasn’t made a Broadway appearance!
I developed my interest in theatre when in High School. I got a chance to see a dress rehearsal of “Streetcar Named Desire,” and that literally changed my life. This was at the Red Barn Theatre in Jackson’s Point, which was Canada’s oldest summer theatre venue, long since burned down. My next live theatre was in Toronto at the Royal Alexandra, Deborah Kerr and John Kerr in “Tea and Sympathy.” When I moved to Toronto, I literally saw everything at the Royal Alexandra, from J.B, Anastasia, Luther, The Visit, with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, Diary of Anne Frank, Separate Tables with Geraldine Page, The Best Man, Advise and Consent, The Miracle Worker, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Look Homeward Angel, Auntie Mame, and musicals like South Pacific, Pajama Game, Guys and Dolls, King and I, Finian’s Rainbow, L’il Abner, etc. No wonder I got hooked on live performances.
Also when in High School, my mother took me to Stratford to see the Stratford Shakespearian Festival. This was another whole new world to me, and theatre began to take over my life. Not from an acting point of view, but just being an audience member. Now at 75, my major interest is theatre. On a trip to New York City or London I will see 10 shows in a week.
In 1959 I went to New York for the first time, in a weekend we saw Raisin in the Sun with Claudia McNeil, Once Upon a Mattress, with Carol Burnett, and Leave It To Jane.
In 1965 I got to London for the first time, and saw Maggie May, Creeps, Killing of Sister George, Homecoming and Amen Corner, again with Claudia McNeil.
The great talents I have seen on stage is amazing. From the Lunts, to Mary Martin, Albert Finney, Julie Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Angela Lansbury, the Redgraves, Barbara Streisand, Ingrid Bergman, Lillian Gish, Vivian Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Perkins, Jessica Tandy, Judy Garland, Judy Holliday, Ethel Merman, to name a few. For this last 60 years my time spent in the dark has been most worthwhile and a very rewarding experience. I feel I have experienced the most that theatre had to offer.
I hope this site will give you some insight into this fantastic world of make-believe. It is set up by theatres, not only those current and bookable, but those that have been abandoned or demolished over time, including year, location, seating capacity and major productions. It is a great research site for not only theatregoers, but actors, students and teachers of the arts:
By long runs on Broadway, Off Broadway, London, and Toronto:
And by what is on in major cities, like New York, London and Toronto