If there can be a Connecticut Wine Trail and a Connecticut Impressionists Trail, then why not a Connecticut Theater Trail?
Is the state tourism office missing a market?
After all, this small-in-size state is packed with Tony Award-winning theaters, not to mention many smaller stages and presenting houses of stunning beauty and history.
Over the years I have been wooed as an arts writer to travel to Houston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and other cities and states to check out their theater and arts offerings. As a tourist, I often look for arts venues to enhance -- and further -- my stays.
It isn’t hard to imagine a marketing package that highlights to the theater-loving traveler venues around the state that are all within an hour or so of each other that would be a beacon -- or, at the very least, a reason to linger just a little bit longer.
Just look at what those arts-loving leaf- peekers could take in this fall in Connecticut: a world premiere of a new musical at Hartford Stage starring Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays; another new musical directed by Julie Andrews from Goodspeed Musicals; a new show about Louis Armstrong at Long Wharf Theatre (or a bit later in the fall, a new adaptation of a comedy starring and directed by Kathleen Turner); a beloved classic at Westport Country Playhouse directed by Phylicia Rashad; some still-revolutionary political theater at Yale Rep by cutting-edge writers.
Individually, any one of them would be worth a visit to the state. Collectively, you have a powerhouse of shows that could rival any region outside of New York.
And that’s not even mentioning the shows at historic presenting venues such as The Bushnell in Hartford, the Palace in Waterbury, the Shubert in New Haven, the Katharine Hepburn Center in Old Saybrook, the Warner in Torrington and the Garde in New London. Did I mention the Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford? Or the Ivoryton Playhouse? Or Yale Cabaret? Or..well, the list goes on and on.
But you get the picture.
Trouble is, theater lovers don’t. At least not the big picture. And not the big package to entice out-of-state audiences with discounts to check out multiple venues of their choosing -- as well as lodging and restaurants nearby the theaters.
Next year many of the major theaters in the state will begin their 50th anniversary seasons. What better time to trumpet Connecticut’s great theater treasures -- and make some happy trails.
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