Finding a production of a play.
October 16, 2005 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Is there a good resource (online or not) to find out if a given theatrical production is running, anytime in the near future, anywhere in the country (USA/Canada)?

It happens often that I'll read or hear about a play and want to see it. If I want to see a rock concert I just go to the band's web page and view their tour information. I essentially want a similar resource but I want it for plays and musicals. I'm wondering if there is anything close to this out in the wild.

For example, presume I just read Tom Stoppard's Arcadia and now I want to see it performed. I am possibly willing to travel anywhere in the USA or Canada to see it and I don't really care if it's being put on by a college versus a professional theatre company. How, other than Google, would I find such a listing of performances? I have tried using Ticketmaster to find performances, but a lot of places I know don't use them to handle ticketing.
posted by mto to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
Methinks you would have to contact the agency that holds the rights to production, Sam French, Music Theatre International, Dramatists, etc.

Unfortunately many of these big names are really small businesses without a lot of staff and so you might find your reception a bit cold.
posted by leafwoman at 5:50 PM on October 16, 2005

Calling the author's agent, maybe?
posted by winston at 8:24 PM on October 16, 2005 has really comprehensive listings of all NYC shows. It also has listings for touring productions and productions in various cities.'s regional/tours page also has a search function (scroll way down).

According to TheaterMania, Arcadia is playing here in NYC in November.
posted by sueinnyc at 9:03 PM on October 16, 2005

It isn't comprehensive, but you can search search for "arcadia" - yields one result that isn't the play

Upcoming is not only the project of a MeFite, it was recently purchased by Yahoo! so will probably see an increased userbase in the near future.

You'll be able to find some professional productions via Playbill:

search on Playbill for "arcadia" under Listings
posted by dhartung at 9:05 PM on October 16, 2005

In addition to playbill, theatermania, etc, you can try TCG is the umbrella association for all the major non-profits in the States. In addition to all kinds of theatre info they have listings for what's on stage this month at their member theatres.

In your example you mention looking up a band's website, so the equivalent would be a theatre company or troupe's site, and not by play or musical.

There is is so little money in theatre these days, except for the commercial productions, so they're isn't the same sort of marketing infrastructure that you find with film or music.

That being said, if you can limit your search to a specific city, I can tell you how I would go about finding listings for the area. Generally, the alternative weeklies websites can have the most comprehensive listing, but I find if I'm looking for a specific thing in theatre, the search for info can vary case by case and there is no definitive production database that would cover all of North America.
posted by miles1972 at 10:46 PM on October 16, 2005

If you are near a good university library, try to see if you can get a guest pass. My alma mater had a huge collection of theatrical productions which immensely helped my study of Shakespeare. Also try any large public libraries.
posted by rabbitsnake at 6:48 AM on October 17, 2005

whoops, I read your questions wrong...sorry.
posted by rabbitsnake at 6:48 AM on October 17, 2005

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