Regional Theater's New Vitality

September 17, 1976

Report Outline
Decentralization of American Theater
Changing Patterns in Regional Theater
Fiscal Problems of the Performing Arts
Special Focus

Decentralization of American Theater

Acclaim for Performances Outside New York City

Theater in america is not nearly as centralized as it once was. To be sure, Broadway still commands center stage. But theatrical activity is no longer confined to New York City. Across the country dinner theaters, outdoor historical dramas and university productions are playing to enthusiastic crowds.

It is the regional professional theaters, however, that have been attracting attention far beyond their locale. Playwright Preston Jones, a director and actor at the Dallas Theater Center, has received rave reviews nationally for three new plays collectively called “A Texas Trilogy.” In May, a play originally produced by the resident professional company at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn,—“Streamers” by David Rabe—received the New York Drama Critics Circle award for the best American play of the 1975–76 season.

Perhaps the most significant event of all for regional theater this year was the decision by the Antoinette Perry (Tony) judges to recognize Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., with a special award for outstanding achievement. It was the first time a theater outside of New York City had been so honored by the Broadway equivalent of Hollywood's Oscar award.

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