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Best outdoor production you've seen?

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aces25
Broadway Star
joined:1/13/04
Broadway Star
joined:
1/13/04
Best outdoor production you've seen? #1
Posted: 7/24/20 at 7:09pm

What is the best outdoor show that you have seen? 
Or examples of roaming theatre productions. 

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JBroadway
Broadway Legend
joined:4/6/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/6/12
Best outdoor production you've seen? #2
Posted: 7/24/20 at 8:17pm

Favorite production that happened to be outdoors? Probably Troilus and Cressida at Shakespeare in the Park, or maybe a version of Cymbeline at the Globe in London that was retitled "Imogen." 

Favorite use of an outdoor setting? Maybe an immersive production of Romeo and Juliet that I saw at a historic ranch. 

But I should add the disclaimer that there are plenty of outdoor productions that I've only heard about, that seemed like much more interesting use of outdoor spaces than anything I've ever seen. For example, the upcoming Michael Arden project seems like a fascinating use of found, outdoor spaces. And I would have loved to see the version of Ghost Quartet that they performed at night around a campfire. 

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BrodyFosse123
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joined:2/27/06
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joined:
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #3
Posted: 7/24/20 at 10:03pm

 

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Jordan Catalano
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joined:10/9/05
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joined:
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #4
Posted: 7/24/20 at 10:09pm
Meryl Streep doing “Mother Courage” in Central Park.

Hands. F’ng. Down.
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HogansHero
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joined:2/26/12
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joined:
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #5
Posted: 7/24/20 at 10:34pm

For me that's an easy one: Medea at the Theatre at Epidaurus. And speaking of which, for the first time ever, they are a broadcasting a show (The Persians) live, at 1pm NY tIme tomorrow (Saturday). 

Renart
Stand-by
joined:2/26/09
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2/26/09
Best outdoor production you've seen? #6
Posted: 7/24/20 at 10:59pm

London Assurance at American Players Theater in Spring Green, Wisconsin. I love that place. Wish I could get back there.

I was at one show, I think it was The Play's the Thing, and it started to sprinkle so they paused and removed the upholstered furniture. After awhile they started up again. It started to rain again and they stopped again. They came back and restarted again. When it started raining again, the actor onstage gave a good-natured exasperated sigh and turned to the few of us left in the audience and asked if we wanted them to just continue, which is what it looked like they wanted to do. We cheered and they performed the rest of the play in the rain.

ijest22
Understudy
joined:4/14/17
Understudy
joined:
4/14/17
Best outdoor production you've seen? #7
Posted: 7/25/20 at 10:08am

Jordan Catalano said: "Meryl Streep doing “Mother Courage” in Central Park.

Hands. F’ng. Down.
"

Yes!  I was sitting on a log in the front row, and it felt like she had dropped by to perform in my backyard. 

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KingOfTheMine
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joined:2/8/20
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joined:
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #8
Posted: 7/25/20 at 11:31am

I'm a huge fan of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and I make a point of attending at least once every summer.  Not having the chance to visit Boscobel for a picnic and play under the tent has been one of the greatest theatrical casualties for me during the pandemic.  I've seen a lot of great plays there over the years.  The first Shakespeare play I ever saw was Much Ado About Nothing in 2009 at HVSF.  I was about 12 at the time, and I was hooked once Nance Williamson as Beatrice delivered a couple of lines straight to me and acted like I should cover my ears during one of the more risqué lines.  Her performance, in particular, was witty, fierce, fun, and alive.  That night, she helped lay the foundation for a life-long love of the theater.  It's been great going back year after year to see familiar faces in the company doing different roles.  At the end of the day, it's hard to beat the majestic backdrop of the Hudson Highlands combined with great Shakespeare.

SisterGeorge
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joined:5/8/19
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #9
Posted: 7/25/20 at 1:01pm
Not sure if it was "the best," but most unusual was a "Jesus Christ Superstar" in Prague's Spiral Theater, a roofless nine(?) story steel cylinder in the middle of a park, with the audience sitting in circles above each other looking at the production below and the night sky above. Sort of like Shakespeare's Globe meets Mad Max Thunderdome. And the performance was in Czech.

The theater opened in the early nineties (I was there in '94) and closed in 2002 after major floods damaged the structure beyond repair
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LizzieCurry
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joined:3/7/05
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #10
Posted: 7/25/20 at 1:36pm

Hercules at the Delacorte!

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
Updated On: 7/25/20 at 01:36 PM
Jarethan
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joined:2/10/11
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2/10/11
Best outdoor production you've seen? #11
Posted: 7/25/20 at 2:09pm

I travelled to St Louis on business before I retired.  One of the joys of St. Louis in a summer is the Muni summer theatre right in the middle of the park whose name I can't remember right now.  The theatre seats 11,000, with some number of tickets free.

I was able to see a few performances and, when I went alone, managed to always get a single very close to the stage, which was very fortunate.  After NY prices, the most expensive tix at the Muni were still 'cheap'.

In any event, one of the shows I saw there was Miss Saigon, which I have always really enjoyed.  I have always loved the helicopter scene in any traditional theatre, not because of the gimmick per se, but because of the combination of brilliant staging, lighting, music crescendoing, people trying to climb the fence, even though the piece of the set is what people seem to remember.

At the Muni, they could not do that.  The helicopter was simply represented by very bright lights and a little smoke well beyond the back of the stage; people tried to get to that light and failed.  I thought they did a solid job, given the constraints.  Then, suddenly -- and admittedly kitchy -- the helicopter began to rise, and flew away.  Very theatrical, yet felt real.

Somehow, I have never made it to Shakespeare in the Park, which I deeply regret.  The single production I would have loved to seen was Mother Courage, which I have also never managed to see.  The little snippets I have seen looked thrilling.

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South Fl Marc
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joined:6/23/04
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #12
Posted: 7/25/20 at 4:49pm

HogansHero said: "For me that's an easy one: Medea at the Theatre at Epidaurus. And speaking of which, for the first time ever, they are a broadcasting a show (The Persians) live, at 1pm NY tIme tomorrow (Saturday)."

 

Thanks Hogan for the reminder. I would have forgotten all about it!

 

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HogansHero
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joined:2/26/12
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #13
Posted: 7/25/20 at 5:30pm

I thought it was amazing

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South Fl Marc
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joined:6/23/04
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #14
Posted: 7/25/20 at 7:30pm

HogansHero said: "I thought it was amazing"

 

I did too. I watched the performance remembering why I love theatre so much. Thanks again for the reminder.

 

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PutonyourWarPaint
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joined:8/14/19
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #15
Posted: 7/25/20 at 8:45pm

Its funny how this one sticks in my mind. But its for obvious reasons if you were there...

Back when Jenny Wiley Theatre in Kentucky used to be good (prior to 2005), they had a FANTASTIC production of The King And I. I can still remember the scenic design and under the stars the show really took on a different feel (even with traditional staging). I think that was sometime around 2000 or 2001. Again, just incredible production. 

Dollypop
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joined:5/15/03
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #16
Posted: 7/26/20 at 12:24pm
Going back about 35-40 years: HAMLET, starring Stacy Keach and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING starring Sam Waterston and Kathleen Widdos-' both in Central Park.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
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JBroadway
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #17
Posted: 7/26/20 at 3:37pm

I love going to see shows at the Delacorte, and believe me when I saw that I would simply die of happiness to be able to go back in time to see some of the productions that played there back when they used to get major stars. That production of The Seagull? Simply ridiculous how stacked that cast was. 

However, out of the ones I've seen, it seems like they rarely make good use of the outdoor setting. It's a fun experience to see the show outdoors regardless, but I feel like that rarely translates to what's actually being presented on the stage. Most of them could have been just as good (artistically) if they were performed indoors. I think the only 2 productions I've seen at the Delacorte that were significantly enhanced by the outdoor setting were (1) Into the Woods (for obvious reasons) and (2) Hercules, because the Greek amphitheater style harkens back to the story's roots. 

In the production of Troilus and Cressida that I mentioned above, there were a few really cool moments where the wind blew the fog around in a really dramatic way, and also the planes and helicopters flying overhead kind of fit in with the show's modern war setting. But other than that, that production could just as easily have been indoors. 

I imagine The Seagull would have worked really well outdoors, because most of the play takes place outdoors, and right next to a lake, just like the Delacorte. 

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AC126748
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joined:7/15/06
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #18
Posted: 7/26/20 at 6:05pm

TWELFTH NIGHT with Anne Hathaway, Audra McDonald et al at the Delacorte.

"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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FosseTharp
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #19
Posted: 7/26/20 at 6:14pm
For me, it was seeing the RSC perform Romeo and Juliet at Arena di Verona. That was quite the remarkable night and one I’ll never forget.
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Someone in a Tree2
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joined:10/9/12
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Best outdoor production you've seen? #20
Posted: 7/26/20 at 9:08pm
^ Thanks, FosseTharp, you just reminded me of another show we enjoyed about 10 years ago at the Arena in Verona— it’s their insanely sumptuous production of Turandot. Staggering to watch them hoist each night’s sets up and out of the Roman arena the next morning to make way for that night’s new opera. Everyone should make it to their summer season at least once.