New Orleans Theater
As is the case with opera, dance, and classical music, New Orleans live theatre is also a popular and long-established tradition dating back to the earliest days of the French colony that was founded as La Nouvelle Orleans in the early 1700s.
The tradition continues to this day with numerous local and touring theatrical presenting companies and smaller community theatres, as well as performing arts groups in several of the local colleges. Some of these New Orleans performing arts organizations are for-profit businesses, most are nonprofit, but all of them exist for the same basic purpose: to present theatrical performances as an artistic form of expression as well as a means of popular entertainment.
The city's crown jewel of the theatrical arts performing season is the Broadway in New Orleans series that typically brings around six touring Broadway musicals to the city each season.
On the next tier of theatrical performing organizations are Southern Repertory Theatre, the Contemporary Arts Center, the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, and Rivertown Repertory Theatre. These are among the larger organizations with governing structures, steady funding sources and varied repertoires that are announced and posted before the start of each season.
In addition to the Broadway series and the larger performing arts organizations, there are numerous community theatre groups that stage theatrical performances in smaller venues and they are scattered about New Orleans in off-the-beaten-track locales. Among these community theatres are the AllWays Lounge, Anthony Bean Community Theatre, Crescent City Youth Theater, Cripple Creek Theater Company and La Nuit Comedy Theater.
In a separate category are the college and university theatrical performing arts companies: Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre, New Oleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane, the University of New Orleans (UNO) plus those at Loyola University and Delgado Community College. The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) also stages live theatrical plays throughout the year.
Also presenting New Orleans live theatrical entertainment throughout the year is The Stage Door Canteen at the National World War II Museum.
Check back shortly for a list of top live theater performances for the upcoming cultural arts season. Also, be sure to check out our events calendar for the latest offerings in the city.