A tryout is the staging of performances of a theatrical production (i.e., a play or musical) at an off-site venue for evaluation and possible revision before the production premieres on Broadway or the West End. A tryout is similar to a workshop production in that the point is to identify and eliminate embarrassing flaws before the production is put on before highly demanding New York or London audiences, but unlike a workshop, it is usually more developed, less rough, and closer to the intended final product. If a tryout goes well and irons out the last few bugs, then that assures the project's investors that when it does debut on Broadway or the West End, it will already be fully polished and more likely to receive favorable reviews and play to sold-out houses for several years, so they can recoup their investment. Conversely, tryouts enable theatrical audiences in less prestigious markets to preview potential future hits and get bragging rights that they saw those works first.
The Schubert Theatre is an example of a theatre specializing in such tryouts for Broadway.
Popular tryout locations
- New Haven, Connecticut: Oklahoma!, The King and I, My Fair Lady, 1776
- Philadelphia: Street Scene, Kiss Me, Kate, A Raisin in the Sun
- Boston: Porgy and Bess, Follies, La Cage aux Folles
- Detroit: Hello, Dolly!, Sweet Charity, Seesaw
- Washington, D.C.: Show Boat, West Side Story, 42nd Street
- San Diego: Rumors, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jersey Boys
- Los Angeles: Peter Pan, The Happy Time, Brighton Beach Memoirs
- Seattle: Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza, Catch Me If You Can
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