Top 10 Reasons I Go to the Theatre

Lea Michele in Round House Theatre’s 2005 production of <em>The Diary of Anne Frank. Photo by Stan Barouh</em>

Lea Michele in Round House Theatre’s 2005 production of The Diary of Anne Frank. Photo by Stan Barouh

Forty-five years after I went to my first show (a revival of Annie Get Your Gun starring Ethel Merman at Lincoln Center), including 24 years as a resident in the Washington area, I am still compelled to attend as much theatre as possible while keeping the rest of my life marginally balanced. Why am I addicted to this art form? Here are my top 10 reasons:

10. To support underpaid entertainers: These folks manage to bring their A game every night as opposed to the many overpaid entertainers (read professional athletes) who get paid exorbitant amounts of money but often bring a B or C game.

9. To parent our children: Like when we took our then 11 and 9 year old daughters to see The Diary of Anne Frank at Round House Theatre in 2005 (starring none other than Lea Michele as Anne) as an introduction to begin a family discussion of the Holocaust.

8. To realize that some pieces need to be revisited: Nine wasn’t a bad musical in 1982 but I thought it was, based on the original production, until I was in a much better place in my life to understand it when I revisited it with Landless Theatre Company’s production in 2005.

7. To see the latest “best show I have ever seen”: Stand-Up Tragedy in 1989 at Arena Stage was the first in a long line of Washington area productions to top the list.

6. To see the world through another person’s perspective: Even this 51 year old revisited the wonder of a child experiencing his or her first snow with Adventure Theatre’s The Snowy Day.

5. To marvel at the ability of design teams to bring other places and people to us: Think of James Kronzer’s set for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s 2010 production of Clybourne Park.

4. To explore the psyches of frightening people without actually having them visit your living room: Like Andrew Long‘s performance in The Studio Theatre Company’s 2006 production of Frozen.

3. To laugh: Like when I saw Sherri L. Edelen play Madame Thénardier in Signature Theatre’s 2008 production of Les Misérables.

2. To interact personally with artists and fellow audience members.

1. To be a better human.

We don’t expect you to write an entire essay in response to this blog, but we would love to know your top reason for going to the theatre.



02/07/2012 07:39pm
  Cynthia Coogan

All great reasons. So happy that the memory of STAND-UP TRAGEDY endures for you. Those of us who worked on it still feel that way, too. :-)


02/07/2012 02:22pm
  Peter Orvetti

This is a great list! I didn't really discover theater until a few years ago. I now take acting classes and subscribe to three local theaters. Why I go:

-- To support great art and great artists

-- To share an experience with a select group of other theater fans and performers

-- To see people doing what they love

-- To introduce my sons to a sometimes-overlooked part of culture