The dog days of summer are officially here. It’s too hot to do anything outside, yet staying indoors and binge-watching TV shows or working through your to-be-read pile is fun for only so long. Odds are, your grandchild probably feels the same way. If you’re both looking for an entertaining indoor activity, why not see what’s happening at the local theaters together?
The benefits of experiencing the performing arts are plenty. Not only do they provide a few hours of music and fun, but they also promote learning by exposing the audience to an art they may have never studied before. They challenge the way you think and encourage you to use your imagination. Unlike movies on a screen, plays and musicals are intimate; they grasp your attention with colors, sounds, and smells while talented performers sing and dance onstage. Nowadays, theaters have state-of-the-art designs that make their shows completely immersive. A sense of community is central to theater programs as well, so shows are accessible to the general public, allowing you to enjoy a show without worrying about the cost.
Theater is a lot more affordable than most people think, as most venues base their ticket prices on the seat’s proximity to the stage. So, while you could pay $70 to sit front and center, you could pay $30 instead for a seat further in the back and still have an enjoyable experience. Each theater has a floor plan that ensures that the audience will be able to hear and see the show well regardless of a person’s seat. You may even be able to snag a discount at one of these select theaters between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Manship Theatre Shaw Center for the Arts is a non-profit theater for fine art, film, music, and the performing arts. The Main Theatre has 325 seats and 11 rows in classic European opera-house fashion, offering an up-close experience no matter where you are sitting. It is accessible via elevator and wheelchair, and it has handicapped seating and hearing assistance devices. If you are interested in becoming a member, their membership fees include perks such as free popcorn and a discount on films, early access to tickets, access to exclusive events, reserved seating for general admission, and more. manshiptheatre.org
Theatre Baton Rouge is one of the oldest and largest community theaters in the country. With 327 seats, it has the feel of a small theater while putting on large-scale productions. From dramas, to musicals, and to comedies, you will surely find a performance that is up your alley. Your purchase of a season subscription will automatically include a senior discount; plus, if your grandchild is a student, they will get a student discount. theatrebr.org
The River Center for Performing Arts Theatre is home to the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Ballet, Broadway in Baton Rouge, and other performances. Located in downtown Baton Rouge, it features 2,000 seats and a state-of-the-art venue that can support a wide variety of shows. There are wheelchair-accessible seats, sign language interpreters, and elevators. Some shows will provide free admission to patrons two years of age and younger. raisingcanesrivercenter.com
There are several places on LSU’s campus that put on live shows throughout the school year thanks to the College of Music and Dramatic Arts: the Shaver Theatre, Reilly Theatre, Studio Theatre, and the stunning Music and Dramatic Arts building itself. Each venue provides a unique experience for visitors. You don’t have to be a student to enjoy one of the shows! Discounts vary depending on the production. lsu.edu
The historic Saenger Theatre in New Orleans provides an experience like no other in its gorgeous 2,600 capacity venue. It puts on more than 100 Broadway shows, comedies, concerts, and more per year. You can sit in the orchestra for an up-close view, or take in all the splendor from the balcony seats. The Theatre is wheelchair accessible and provides American Sign Language interpreted performances for Sunday matinee performances of Broadway in New Orleans. saengernola.com
The Mahalia Jackson Theater is home to the New Orleans Opera Association, New Orleans Ballet Association, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Like its sister theater, the Saenger, this 2,100 capacity theater hosts concerts, comedy, and other performing arts groups. It is wheelchair accessible and provides listening devices, along with live interpreters for specific performances. mahaliajacksontheater.com
Le Petit Theatre is a small-but-mighty venue in the French Quarter that presents classic plays and Broadway musicals. Its ticket prices are discounted for subscribers, students, educators, young professionals, and military personnel and their families. There is a restaurant in the theatre for you to enjoy as well! lepetittheatre.com