Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jealousy (theatrical listings)

I don't know why I torture myself, but every now and then, I look to see what is playing in Chicago (or even Vancouver, though that is more an artifact of trying to stay somewhat current in terms of Vancouver news).

Just looking at the DPS or Samuel French listings, Chicago generally gets 3 times the number of professional plays that Toronto does.  And it probably has 5 times the number of small, independent storefront theatres.

At the same time, the theatre scene in Toronto has gotten very good, and I am able to go to an interesting play almost every week.  So it probably doesn't really matter that I could gorge myself on theatre if I was still living there.  (I recall I averaged 1.5 plays a week in Chicago, and sometimes it was more about trying to slot things in and deciding what to skip...)

Nonetheless, there are still plays that take a bit too long to arrive in Toronto, and I start looking around at other options.  I just found out that Vancouver is getting the Canadian premiere of Karam's The Humans next spring (March 2018).  Now this will probably land at Soulpepper shortly after this, but I have to say I am tempted to try to come up with a good enough excuse to travel to Vancouver next spring.

On the other hand, there is going to be a US national tour of the Broadway production of The Humans (with at least many of the original cast along for the tour).  This starts in Seattle this spring.  (What is it with the west coast getting the next crack at this play?)  I assume it's coming through Chicago,* and ideally that would land late summer.  I might be willing to travel to Philadelphia or even Pittsburgh, depending on the precise details.  Anyway, I'll try to remember to check back in a few weeks to see what's been decided.**

* On the other hand, The Humans actually originated in Chicago at the American Theatre Company and then moved to Broadway (this was 2014 when I was consumed by the move from Vancouver to Toronto so wasn't able to make a side trip to Chicago), so maybe the national tour won't come to Chicago after all.  The Chicago-New York axis remains very strong, and it seems the best way now to make it on Broadway is to have a critical hit staged first in Chicago.  Something to keep in mind for later...

** The only new news is that it will be in Minneapolis in February, 2018.  It would be really hard to justify traveling there in the middle of winter, especially as I made a quick trip there last October.  I think I'll hold out a bit longer and see what some of the other options are.

I've also just learned that the Broadway tour of The Humans will be passing through Schenectady, NY in March, 2018 (probably right before Spring Break).  It's an interesting decision.  The Greyhound fare is on the order of $200, but it takes 9 hours each way.  Flying to Vancouver is going to run $400-500 with 4.5 - 5 hours of in-flight time, but then getting to the airport, security check, etc. (and as of yet Porter can't fly that far, so it means schlepping out to Pearson).  I imagine the Broadway tour will be a bit tighter in terms of the ensemble, somewhat offset by the fact that at this point in the tour they are only going to be a week in each city.  I'd say I am somewhat leaning towards Vancouver, if these are the only options, but I am still holding out hope that some more appealing venues are announced.

And lo and behold, it will be playing in Philadelphia in Feb 2018, though I think this is a local production, not the Broadway tour.  That's probably ok just to see the play.  Despite my general concerns about traveling during the winter, I might try to do this, though I will continue to try to find out about the Broadway tour dates/locations.

Edit (2/28) So The Humans is coming to Pittsburgh as well, though this is definitely not the touring version, but a new production at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, just like the Vancouver Arts Club production.  This is going to be in November, 2017.  Of all the options to date, this is the most appealing, since I can often get cheap tickets to Pittsburgh on Porter, and I've thought I should check out the Carnegie Museum of Art one of these days.  So I'll keep checking back on the national tour dates, but this is a likely match.

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