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A preview of a production in the theater, music or film is a performance with an audience before the actual premiere . The English term preview is mostly used in the cinema .


Occasionally, a preview is held before a premiere . In the cinema, the audience can be surprised with an unprepared preview, which is called a sneak preview . At least in the past, previews were part of the rehearsal process . Among the previews at the theater are usually the dress rehearsal and the rehearsal if audience is approved for them as a "public rehearsal". A longer series of previews are the tryouts in productions of new musicals , with which the reactions of the audience are tested.



With lavishly produced commercial theater productions since the middle of the 19th century, for example the operettas and later the revues , previews were increasingly held in order to test the effect and to adjust the production if necessary.

Pre-performances of a new production were often in a different location than that of the main premiere: The Woltersdorff-Theater Berlin has been staging pre-performances of Viennese operettas since Franz von Suppé's Die Schöne Galathée (1865) , which subsequently premiered in Vienna. Even A Night in Venice (1883) by Johann Strauss II was tested before the Vienna premiere in Berlin.

In major US theater productions, there were two long rows of previews: There followed a period of previews to that of the tryouts before the official premiere could take place. The tryouts were preview performances in another city and were kind of final rehearsals with an audience. This was followed by a series of previews in the final version in the theater of the premiere. This allowed technicians and actors to get used to the location of the premiere. In musical productions on Broadway in New York , this procedure was common until the 1970s.


Movies have been tried and launched in a similar manner. The producer Irving Thalberg (1899-1936) developed his successes during the previews. Buster Keaton reworked his film Seven Chances (1925) due to the previews. The previews of Nothing New in the West (1930) also resulted in new filming, in which an actress was replaced. The cut version of Gone With the Wind (1939) was changed during the previews due to audience reactions.

Today, such previews no longer take place in public. They are often distinguished from the preview of the finished film by the term test screening .