10 Reasons to See a Concert at a Small Local Theater this Summer

Guest Post by Scotty Reiss
I’m so over the big arena concerts: the scramble to buy super expensive tickets that get you a seat near the roof from which performers look like ants on the stage. It’s just not worth it.
Luckily, hundreds of great bands are booked into local theaters—many of them historical treasures—around the country, and it’s a growing trend.
Capitol Theater Portchester, NY - There are some amazing historic theaters for great entertainment.

Capitol Theater, Portchester NY is an example of how small theaters are reviving and attracting great bands. Photo credit: Historic Theater.org

My local theater, the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut, is a fabulous destination for any sort of show. Recently I went to see The English Beat and it’s an experience I’ll smile about forever.
Ridgefield Playhouse (photo Destintaion Ridgefield)

The Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT; formerly a high school gym. (Photo credit: Destination Ridgefield)

But most towns have a playhouse (a listing of historic theaters is here), so here’s why you should take a look at the schedule and buy tickets to see a favorite band:
  1. With only a several hundred seats, everyone can see and hear perfectly. Often, even from the back row you can see the expressions on the performers faces and the color of the shoes they’re wearing. And yes, you can get close to the stage. I was this close: http://instagram.com/p/paIal1TPVc/
  2. Many venues have wide aisles and an orchestra area in front of the stage where you can dance. And you should always dance at a concert.
  3. An intimate venue makes you feel one with the band and the music. At the The English Beat show we walked up to the front of the stage to dance; we were right there in the swing with the band.
  4. An intimate venue makes the performers happy, too. They love what they do, and they love to see you having fun. If they can see you singing along and dancing, you’ve made their night. All that singing and dancing takes years off your age. OK, maybe reliving your youth, too, but singing, dancing and sweating is what health experts tell us we need more of.

    Ridgefield Playhouse auditorium (photo Destintaion Ridgefield)

    There’s not a bad seat in the house; the Ridgefield Playhouse only seats about 500, meaning everyone can see and hear (Photo credit: Destination Ridgefield)

  5. Tickets are affordable. Stop by the box office and pick up a bunch for $25 or $30 each (and in some cites, even less!). For the price of taking your family or a few friends to a show you could get a single ceiling-level no-view seat at an arena.
  6. These theaters need your patronage in order to stay vibrant and financially healthy. By going to see a show you are doing good for your community, too.
  7. Show your kids what live music is really about. Let them see how much fun a concert can be when you are one with the music, dancing and singing and grooving with the audience and the band. And because it’s not expensive, you can do it more often.
  8. A great show leaves a smile on your face and a song in your heart. And really, what else keeps you humming and smiling for days afterward?
  9. You get a priceless experience: the chance to live in the moment of each song with the artist. And that’s what its all about and why performers do what they do: they want to live in that moment of glory of a song they love, and they want you to love it as much as they do.
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This last point I learned when I had the chance to interview Dave Wakeling of The English Beat last winter. I was surprised to hear that what makes a concert so much fun for me is also what drives Wakeling: that glorious moment every night when the audience is just as into every note and beat as he is. It’s why he gets up in the morning and continues to write, play and perform. When the audience is singing, dancing and having a great time, he knows the show is a success. “The audience has a hand in the outcome of the evening,” says Wakeling. “They don’t even realize it.”
Dave Wakeling On Stage

Yes, I was this close to the English Beat (and founder Dave Wakeling): the ‘orchestra pit’ allows for fans to approach the stage and be one with the band. Photo by Scotty Reiss

So now go load The Best of the English Beat into Spotify, crank up “Save it for Later” (or, load in your own favorite artist) and dance your way to the performance schedule of your local theater. If you’re lucky, The English Beat will be coming to your town soon.
Band on Stage

The view from my seats: not bad at all! And, acoustics are actually better in the center and back of the house than up by the stage. Photo by Scotty Reiss

Guest post by Scotty Reiss, a founder of SheBuysCars, the digital community focused on cars from the perspective of women who buy them.

What do you think?