Boston’s thriving theater scene is centered around its Theater District. Most theaters in Boston are on one of three streets: Washington, Tremont, and Boylston. Fun fact: theater was actually banned by the Puritans who originally settled Boston. Despite the city’s rich colonial history, plays could not be performed in Boston until 1792, and the city’s first theater was not built until the following year. Broadway shows often come to Boston’s Theater District, and many shows often make their way to Broadway after performing in Boston.
The Boston Opera House is one of the District’s major venues. The vaudeville-themed building opened in 1929 and originally played motion pictures and vaudeville shows. The theater was renovated and completely restored in 2002 after closing for a long period. The modern-day Boston Opera House opened in 2004 with a six month run of The Lion King. The venue has been going strong ever since and is one of the busiest theaters in New England. Recent and upcoming shows at the Boston Opera House include The Phantom of the Opera, Fun Home, The Wizard of Oz, and Waitress. The Boston Ballet also performs regular shows, including a holiday production of The Nutcracker, at the Opera House.
Also in Boston’s Theater District is the Charles Playhouse, which built in 1839 and originally used as a church. Later in the 1800s, the building became Boston’s first synagogue, and in the years before the Depression, was used as a speakeasy. The building took its current name 1957, when it was purchased by The Actors Company of Boston. The Charles Playhouse premiered Shear Madness at its cabaret theater in 1980. The show has been running in Boston ever since—it’s the longest running non-musical play in America—and has been performed over 13,000 times. The Charles Playhouse also-booked the now famous Blue Man Group in 1995, and their show has been a mainstay at the Playhouse ever since.
Where’s the best place to see theater in Boston?
You can’t go wrong with just about anywhere in the Theater District. If you’re looking for some local color, the Charles Playhouse frequently puts on productions of Shear Madness, which is one of America’s longest-running plays. The show is described as a “comedy whodunit, where the audience gets to solve the crime.” The outcome changes each time the show is performed.
What shows are playing in Boston this weekend?
To check out performances in Boston this weekend, scroll up to the “Events This Weekend” listings at the top of the page.
Boston is a busy place, and you don’t want to be late for a show (really, you want to be at least 15 minutes early, and most venues open an hour before the show). Make sure you give yourself extra time to get to a show if there are other events—Red Sox or Bruins games, for example—also going on. You’ll also want to plan around any festivals or parades.
How much are tickets to shows in Boston?
Boston is one of the top theater destinations in the country, with a wide variety of venues and performances. Fans of all types are able to find a price point they’re comfortable with. For a look at ticket prices for upcoming theater, scroll to the top of the page and see events today, this weekend, and this week.
What show should I see?
You can find a show in Boston for any type of theater fan. Scroll through the listings above to see what’s playing. For all theater shows, visit our Theater Page.