South Dakota's 10 Best Live Theater Venues!

The art of theater is alive and well in South Dakota. From comedy to drama to historic, there is something for everyone. Support your local thespians and head to the 10 best places for live theater in the state. Lights! No cameras! Action! 

1. Orpheum Theatre Center, Sioux Falls, SD

You won’t want to miss a single performance in Sioux Fall’s luxurious premier live theater venue! Opened in 1913 as a vaudeville house, the historic Orpheum Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The elegant theater hosts plays, concerts, musicals, and more. Popular productions have been “Rock of Ages,” “Rent,” and “The Great Gatsby.” 

2. Lewis & Clark Theatre Co., Yankton, SD

With over 50 completed seasons, the Lewis & Clark Theatre Company has loyally provided the town of Yankton with amazing performances for decades. The theater has more than 500 seats, so it is anything but modest. Popular productions have included “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Clue,” and “Footloose.”

3. Historic Homestake Opera House, Lead, SD

This opera house was built by the Homestake Gold Mine in 1914 and includes a library, billiards hall, bowling alley, an indoor shooting range, and swimming pool. The historic, well-preserved building hosts theater, dance, concerts, and historical tours. The theater group hosts five performances annuals including comedy, drama, musicals, variety shows, and children’s plays. Tickets for theater productions are only $5!

4. Black Hills Playhouse, Custer, SD

Located in Custer State Park, this historic theater is surrounded by natural beauty. Black Hills Playhouse is one of the oldest non-profit stock theaters in the United States. Any viewer could tell you that in that time, they have honed their craft. Popular productions have included “Young Frankenstein,” “Grease,” and “The Addams Family.”

5. Firehouse Brewing Company, Rapid City, SD

This Rapid City hotspot is housed in the original firehouse building built in 1915. It is known for delicious food, tasty brews, and live theater. At any given time, they have nine brews on tap and make around 40 unique beers every year. With exposed brick, vintage firehouse memorabilia, and cozy lighting, the distinct atmosphere is one-of-a-kind. But with the brilliantly cast, you won’t be worrying about the decor! The specialty is musical comedies, including both famous and under-the-radar plays. Popular productions have been “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” “Baskerville,” and “It’s Only a Play.” Beer, food, and entertainment- it’s the complete package!

6. Sioux Empire Community Theatre, Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Empire Community Theatre aims to provide quality, affordable community theater to the people of Sioux Falls. Founded in 2003, this theater has helped revitalize live theater in the region. Popular productions have included “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.

7. Brookings Community Theatre, Brookings, SD

Founded in 2001 by a small group of thespians, Brookings Community Theatre provides entertainment, education, and performance opportunities through the art of live theater to the Brookings community. The theater puts on three main shows throughout the year. Popular shows have been “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Adult tickets are $15. Student and senior tickets are only $10. Tickets are available online or at the door one hour before the start of the show.

8. Deadwood Alive, Deadwood, SD

Deadwood Alive performances make history fun! From shootouts to historical plays, this troupe is the spot for top-notch entertainment. Their most popular production is “The Trial of Jack McCall.” It is the longest-running Wild West show in the world, having been first performed in Deadwood in the mid-1920s! The play is based on the real-life trail of Jack McCall, who murdered James “Wild Bill” Hickok in the Nuttal and Mann’s Saloon No. 10 while he was playing poker. Members of the audience are selected to participate in the show as jurors. Jury duty has never been more entertaining!

9. USD Department of Theatre, Vermillion, SD

At the University of South Dakota’s theater productions, you won’t be able to tell that the actors are all students! The theater presents a variety of compelling and challenging productions for the public to showcase the acting skills they have learned. Popular performances have included “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and “Green Violin.” Tickets are available online. These thespians merit a standing applause with every performance!

10. Town Players, Watertown, SD

Beginning in the late 1940s, Town Players is a community theater group in the small town of Watertown. It was revived again in 1975 and moved to its current location. This season, Town Players is celebrating its 40th consecutive year! Popular show titles have been “The Hallelujah Girls,” “Moonlight and Magnolias,” “A Nice Family Gathering,” and “Always, Patsy Cline.” Season tickets are available. 

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