As a musical theatre fanatic, you imagine being able to experience multiple shows on either Broadway or the West End. The downside is you live too far away to experience them on Broadway or the West End. You barely can get to either Broadway or the West End- your best source of a professional production are the tours. Look at the bright side: at least you still can experience musicals, and you always have talented actors and actresses.
I know what that it is like. I always want to experience Broadway more often, but I have to see tours all the time. Tours to me are my Broadway. Charlotte, my hometown, is a popular touring destination. It is a major city, which is why shows tour there every year. From Newsies to Pippin to Rent to Lion King to Sound of Music to Wicked (3x) to Mamma Mia. The shows I mentioned are tours I have seen in Charlotte that I loved. The actors and actresses come with a lot of talent: part of those actors and actresses have been on Broadway and some are just starting their career. I am blessed to have the tours- if it wasn’t for Charlotte- would not have been able to experience all the musicals I have seen.
Another place to experience theatre in Charlotte is Central Piedmont Community College. Yes, this post is about tours, but I wanted to say I did see shows there. It may be community college, but those shows don’t feel community college. Those shows feel professional. You might think it is just community college students- but that is not true. They use the students from the school plus those from the community- that is a huge strength. I saw Godspell and Les Mis when I was a student there. After graduating from Gardner Webb, I saw Oklahoma, Grease and Newsies at CPCC. It continues to do well-done productions. It is less expensive than the tours, and those shows feel professional.
So the actors and actresses on tour can have the same amount of talent as those on Broadway or the West End. I did not just see tours in Charlotte. St. Louis: 2014- I went there alone to spend a week with my grandma, and the two of us saw Annie together at the gorgeous Fox Theatre. Greenville- 2014: Phantom of the Opera: Christmas 2013: Santa put tickets in my mom’s and my stockings for Phantom of the Opera at the Peace Center so that happened. 2017: Les Mis- I had to make a choice: see it in my hometown with mom or see it in Greenville with Gardner Webb- I thought about Ovens and the Peace Center- I knew it was my last year at Gardner Webb, and wanted to make the most out of it. So I choose Greenville in that situation.
If you rely on tours, see that as a blessing. Think about the actors and actresses you do get. I have seen a number of talented actors/actresses from the tours. In my case, I have never seen the same actor or actress in more than one lead role- that actually allows me to come across a number of talented actors and actresses.
The tours give access to those who can’t easily get to NYC or London. Charlotte is my main place to see musicals. I have to rely on the tours- NYC isn’t easy to get to. It means waiting and waiting till a show I am dying to see that is currently in NYC to go on tour. You never know which shows are going to be in the upcoming season. It takes a lot of patience if you rely on the tours and a lot of waiting. There are musicals you hope to see, but you never know when you see them- it just depends when it comes your hometown. I hope to go back to NYC, but so glad I have the tours: the tours are my musical world. At least, there is a way to see them. Imagine if the tours didn’t exist- what if there just was just Broadway and the West End- see what I mean- you wouldn’t be able to see them as much if you didn’t live close enough. So the tours play a huge part in musical theatre.