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HISTORY OF THE WALNUT STREET THEATRE


Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest theatre in America, celebrating 200 years in 2009. A huge number of famous celebrities have appeared at the Walnut, inclduing the Barrymores, Will Rogers, The Marx Brothers, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Jane Fonda, Jack Lemon, and William Shatner. The theatre officially opened February 2, 1809. Soon aftwerward, an 80-foot dome was built onto the theatre, making it the tallest structure in Philadelphia at that time. The Walnut Street Theatre is home to many firsts in the American theater. In 1837, the Walnut was the first theatre to install gas footlights, lights that surround the edge of the stage. In 1855, the Walnut became the first theatre to install air conditioning. Alos, the first copyright law protecting the rights of American plays started at the Walnut. The curtain call, now the most famous tradition in every theatre production, started at the Walnut as well. The Walnut's rich history is evident backstage as well, seeing that it is one of only a few remaining "hemp houses" in the country, meaning the theatre continues to operate the original grid, rope, pulley, and sandbag system that as since been replaced by modern machinery. The Walnut Street Theatre was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, and was made into a functiontioning theatre in 1969. The Walnut has since become a self-producing, non-profit regional theatre. Today, the Walnut continues to produce professional productions for Philadelphia audiences, producing up to five or more shows a season.

THE WALNUT STREET THEATRE TODAY

Today, the Walnut continues to produce professional productions. Here is a list of the shows lined up for this season...

THE PRODUCERS

May 12 - July 15

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS

September 8 - October 25

OLIVER!

November 10 - January 10

THE ECLECTIC SOCIETY

January 19 - March 7

FALLEN ANGELS

March 16 - May 2

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

May 18 - July 18

And these are only A FEW of the shows featured this season at the Walnut!! For more information, visit www.walnutstreettheatre.org





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