In an episode of Theatre Lives, video interviews created by The Stage and Digital Theatre, Michael Grandage, the former artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse, shared his beliefs about theatre previews, the few weeks that lead up to a show's official opening night. Traditionally it is the period where cast and creators are able to hone material before a live audience, seeing what works and what doesn't prior to the arrival of the critics.
Grandage, a Tony winner for his direction of Broadway's Red, said in the video interview that he believes previews will soon be a thing of the past, adding that a show's first performance will eventually become its official opening night.
“We do it in opera and I do,” Grandage said, according to thestage.co.uk. “One of the jobs of a director, and certainly I see it as one of my jobs, is to make sure the rehearsal period is such that when you get to that first preview, you are effectively getting to an opening night…. Opening previews will be opening nights before too much longer in some form. They already are, if you like, because of social media. You are opening to a body of opinion before you have officially opened and it’s all valid, at some level.”
Grandage, who believes previews will be eliminated during his lifetime, added, “Everybody knows every performance counts. For the last decade we have had to deal with people writing about it from the off…. I do like to be prepared for that first performance and therefore the work that is done between the first performance and actual press [night] is minimal.”
Grandage, who is currently artistic director of the Michael Grandage Company, was recently hired to direct the Broadway stage adaptation of the hit Disney film Frozen.