Time Magazine Picks Top Regional Theatres

By Andrew Gans
27 May 2003

Time Magazine has named “the top five regional theaters.”



In an article by Richard Zoglin, who spent several months surveying the country’s regional theatres, five theatres were singled out for praise. They include Chicago’s Goodman Theatre; the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Massachusetts’ American Repertory Theatre; Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theatre; and California’s South Coast Repertory.

Robert Falls, artistic director of the Goodman Theatre, spoke to Time about the difference between regional and New York theatre. Said the director, who is currently represented on Broadway with the acclaimed revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, “New York is a place to celebrate new work rather than to originate or nurture it. That’s our responsibility.” Chicago’s Goodman is currently presenting August Wilson’s latest, Gem of the Ocean, and they will offer Stephen Sondheim’s newest, Bounce, in June.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival — located in Ashland, OR — began in 1935 as an all-Shakespeare company; however, Shakespeare’s works now comprise less than half of each season. The company, which features over 70 actors, offers 11 works each year. In addition to the classic repertory, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival will present Lorca in a Green Dress this summer, a work from Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz.

This season, Robert Woodruff succeeded Robert Brustein as artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA. Currently onstage at the theatre is Peter Sellars and Andrei Serban’s adaptation of Pericles. The season also included a staging of Highway Ulysses by Woodroff, a veteran New York City director.

With a subscription base of 32,000 theatregoers, Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater presents a mix of classics and new work. Among the latter is Arthur Miller’s Resurrection Blues, which debuted at the Guthrie last summer. Artistic director Joe Dowling — who directed this season’s Broadway revival of Tartuffe — told Time that the Minneapolis audience is “one of the most sophisticated I’ve ever worked with.

South Coast Repertory is just one of several regional theatres in Southern California: others include San Diego’s The Globe and the La Jolla Playhouse. Run by Martin Benson and David Emmes, the South Coast Rep was founded in 1964, and since that time the company has helped nurture the careers of playwrights like Richard Greenberg and David Henry Hwang, who were both represented on Broadway this season. The theatre also recently premiered a new work by Lynn Nottage, Intimate Apparel.