Compared to many other theaters in the region, Triad Stage is relatively new on the scene, having opened its doors only in January 2002 with a Tennessee Williams classic.
But in the past 13 years, Triad Stage has grown from the 300-seat theater co-founders Preston Lane and Richard Whittington created in a renovated Montgomery Ward building into a company with two homes. The organization has a program at the Hanesbrands Theatre in downtown Winston-Salem, a 30,000-square-foot production facility, as well as its own dedicated cabaret theater.
The co-founders, who met at the Yale School of Drama, have skyrocketed their company to success and accolades from both the mainstream press and the most prestigious theatrical associations by adhering to 10 values, which bridge more ground-breaking concepts like artistic risk and rejuvenation with an emphasis on North Carolina and a Southern voice that runs through each production.
Each season features a mix of centuries-old classics like last season’s update on Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well” and modern classics like this season’s “Crimes of the Heart” and the Mae West biographical musical “Dirty Blonde.” Each season also includes new works, such as 2012 Pulitzer Prize nominee “Other Desert Cities” by Jon Rabin Baitz.
Arkansas Repertory Theatre
Little Rock, Arkansas
Out of all the repertory theaters in the country, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, both the largest professional theater and one of the most important arts organizations in the state, has claimed the title “The Rep” for its own because in its nearly 40 years, it has become one of the most well respected resident theaters in the country.
Since 1976, The Rep has staged more than 300 productions, including 40 world premieres, but now is one of the best times to visit. In addition to a special program in 2015-2016 to mark the 40th anniversary of the company, The Rep is in the middle of a string of record-breaking productions, including its new holiday show, “Elf,” Tony award-winning “Memphis” and “Mary Poppins.”
“The Broadway tour-producing theater in Little Rock is under renovation this year, so its subscribers have started coming to our shows, and they’re saying, ‘It’s half the price, I get a better seat, and the show is just as good,’” said box office manager and group sales coordinator Jeff Roper.
The Rep schedules regular preshow talks with directors and post-show receptions with casts, whether in a casual setting off-site or as a special cabaret, along with its signature Between Stage and Screen series of film screenings tied into current productions and presented with question-and-answer sessions with the theater’s creative team.