What is a “preview performance”?
Previews are a set of public performances of a theatrical production that take place before its official opening. The purpose of the preview is to allow the creative team time to identify problem areas and opportunities for improvements or adjustments that weren’t found during rehearsals. Until the play is officially open, changes to blocking or the design are still allowed, per union artist contracting agreements. The press is only permitted to review the production following the “Opening Night” performance.
Why should I attend a preview if it’s not the finished product?
Previews are a crucial element of a show’s evolution. Without those first audiences, it is hard to say how a comedic or dramatic element will land for 400 people on a nightly basis. After seeing the rehearsal and living with the play for days or weeks leading up to the opening, preview performances allow the director and playwright the chance to step back and see the show anew through the eyes and experience of the audience.
For a play that is published and has been previously produced, there is very little difference between the previews and regular performances. However, for new plays, previews are a very important piece to the development puzzle. Based on audience reactions and with the time to step back, the director and playwright may make impactful changes like adding or cutting a page of dialogue, altering the lighting, or moving an actor’s position. It is truly an exciting period for the refinement of a piece.
At Miami New Drama, we schedule in only a few of these opportunities, unlike Broadway theaters which can schedule weeks of previews. It is vital to the success of the play to get a generous sized audience on these evenings, so come play your part!