Top Five Boston Theaters

by Noemi Arellano-Summer

photography courtesy of Don Riddle

Occasionally, there’s a rare Friday night when you have no homework and no prior plans made with friends. Sure, you could go to a movie, but what about the original version of a “movie night”: the theater. Especially during a busy semester, it’s a great way to distract yourself with something classic. The following is a list of Boston theaters that are definitely worth the trip.

Lyric Stage Company of Boston

Opened in 1974, the Lyric Stage Company prides itself on being the oldest resident theater company in Boston. They run a seven-show season, starting last fall with “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (1990) and ending with “Pacific Overtures” (1976) this upcoming June. The shows in between cover a mix of playwrights that includes Silverman and Shakespeare. The theater is a 240-seat, three-fourths thrust stage located a block from Copley Place.

Shubert Theater

Considered the “Little Princess” of the Boston theater district, the restored Shubert theater (originally opened in 1910) seats over 1,500 spectators. It is used by many local arts institutions, and it is also used by many touring companies for dance, theater, music and opera. Musician Joe Jackson and the musical “American Girl Live” will have perform in the Shubert Theater in the upcoming months. It is located on Tremont Street in Boston.

Orpheum Theater

Beginning as a music hall in 1852, the Orpheum Theater is one of the oldest theaters in the United States. Eventually serving as the home of the New England Conservatory and briefly becoming a vaudeville theater in the early twentieth century, it is now dedicated to musical performances. This spring, the Orpheum will witness the talents of Amanda Palmer and Amos Lee, among others. The Orpheum is located mere blocks from the Boston Opera House.

Boston Opera House

The Boston Opera House is a luscious theater built in the French and Italian styles and originally opened in 1928. Today, it is home to Broadway musicals, plays, dance and, of course, opera. This spring the wildly differing “Coppelia” and “A Bronx Tale” will both have show times, as well as other shows such as the hit “School of Rock.”

Charles Playhouse

The Charles Playhouse, located in the theater district, originally began its life as the Fifth Universalist Church. In the 1940s, it became a nightclub. It was turned into the Charles Playhouse known today in 1958. It is currently home to the Blue Man Group and the whodunit play “Shear Madness.” The theater recently underwent renovation and also, in 2014, celebrated its anniversary of 175 years.

Of course, even with this list in hand, a city as large as Boston has plenty of other theaters to explore. Universities on either side of the Charles also have theater programs, including Boston University’s Stage Troupe or Emerson College’s Colonial Theater. Plays reminds us that we are human, in that the actors slightly change their performances every show. You will never see the same show twice, and that’s part of the magic of live performances. Regardless of your choice of theater or entertainment, you’ll find a story worth remembering.