Head Backstage to be in the know. 

We want to take you behind the scenes, to give you insider information you won't find anywhere else. This is where we pull Bloomington's hip happenings together with recommendations from our team, first-hand accounts from project producers, and guest blogs by local gurus.  The Backstage Blog helps you stay in front of it all.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Where to See a Show in Bloomington

Categories: Events, Arts & Culture, General

Bloomington is known for many things, one of which being its vibrant arts scene. On any given week, you're likely to find at least one live production happening at one of B-Town's famed theater, dance, and comedy venues — here are the places you need to know to catch a show during your stay.
 

Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Buskirk-Chumley Theatre

Originally built in 1922 as a silent-movie house, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater (fondly nick-named the Bus-Chum) has since been beautifully restored and now serves as a venue for musical performances, local festivals, theater & dance productions, film screenings, and stand-up comedy. The stage has hosted productions including The Little Prince, Beauty and The Beast, and many more through the years. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Bus-Chum is a must on your list of places to visit in B-Town, whether it's for a performance or to simply admire its beauty and history.
 

The Comedy Attic

Comedy Attic

The Comedy Attic, Bloomington's first and only full-time comedy club, is one of the most respected comedy venues in the country. Many comedians cite B-Town as a destination spot for comedy, and some have even hailed The Comedy Attic the best in the country. Comedians who have performed at The Attic include Amy Schumer, Melissa Villaseñor, Marc Maron, Tig Notaro, Bobcat Goldthwait, and many more, making it one of the most esteemed performance venues in the area.
 

IU Auditorium

An audience at IU Auditorium ahead of the Chimes of Christmas concert

From the outside, the IU Auditorium is a stunningly grand building inspired by the culture of Southern Indiana, constructed out of locally-quarried Indiana Limestone. When you walk inside, however, you're transported to a big-city-feeling venue — the high ceilings, classic art, and all-around opulent space feels more like Chicago than Bloomington.​ Visitors are greeted by the historic Indiana Murals created by Thomas Hart Benton for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair as they walk through the auditorium doors, then are wowed by the lavish theater's grand size and rich shades of cream, crimson, and gold.

The IU Auditorium holds around 3,200 people and hosts off-Broadway productions, concerts, comedians, and talks with notable celebrities & public figures each year. Over the years, productions have included Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Grease, Mamma Mia, and many, many more. 
 

Musical Arts Center

An audience seated at the Musical Arts Center ahead of a performance

IU's Musical Arts Center (MAC) is one of the most state-of-the-art performance venues in the United States, featuring the second-largest stage area in the country — second only to New York City's Metropolitan Opera. The venue hosts ballets, operas, and musical performances by the Jacobs School of Music, seating nearly 1,500 guests during any given event. Visitors flock to the venue each holiday season for the annual production of The Nutcracker, as well as other performances throughout the year.
 

Ruth N. Halls Theatre

A production taking place on the stage of Ruth N. Halls Theatre
Photo by IDS/Elle Kreamer

The Ruth N. Halls Theatre is a 439-seat proscenium space that hosts large musicals and more intimate theatrical productions. The venue, located on the Indiana University grounds, is one of several facilities housed under the university's Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.
 

Ted Jones Playhouse

Exterior of Ted Jones Playhouse
Photo by Herald-Times/Jeremy Hogan

The Ted Jones Playhouse (TJP) hosts theatrical productions, dance performances, film festivals, and holiday events, seating up to 86 guests in its theater. The venue is housed under Constellation Stage & Screen, which is the result of a three-way merger between Bloomington Playwright’s Project, Cardinal Stage, and Pigasus Institute, established in 2022.
 

Waldron Arts Center

Exterior of Waldron Arts Center
Photo by Bloom Magazine/Martin Boling

The Waldron Arts Center is home to two performing arts venues, as well as a visual arts gallery. The art center's two theater spaces include the John and Linda Whikehart Auditorium, which can seat between 120-150 patrons, and the Rose Firebay Theater, a 60-seat blackbox. Like the Ted Jones Playhouse, the Waldron Arts Center is also housed under Constellation Stage & Screen.
 

Wells-Metz Theatre

Production stage of Wells-Metz Theatre
Photo by Herald-Times/Rich Janzaruk

The Wells-Metz Theatre seats up to 236 guests, hosting four season productions each academic year. From musicals and large Shakespearean dramas to small cast shows, the theatre provides an intimate space where audience members can be as close as five feet from the stage. Like the Ruth N. Halls Theatre, the Wells-Metz is housed under the Indiana University's Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.
 

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is the Digital Content Coordinator at Visit Bloomington. She's also a proud Indiana University alumna, Millennial cat lady, and Formula 1 enthusiast. 

Comments