The Founding of the Historic Cape Playhouse

the founding of the historic cape playhouse The Cape Playhouse was founded in 1927 by Raymond Moore, making it one of the oldest professional summer theaters, not just on the Cape, but in the entire country. The playhouse is housed in the former Unitarian Meeting House in Dennis, that dates to 1838, and was moved to its current location on what is now the campus of Cape Cod Center for the Arts.

At this time, before air conditioning, the theaters in New York would close during the hottest months and people flocked to coastal resorts like Cape Cod. The new Cape Playhouse became popular with actors who wanted to escape the heat yet still continue earning an income from professional productions during the summer months.

Over the years, the Cape Playhouse has seen many famous actors grace its stage, including Henry Fonda, Ginger Rogers, Humphrey Bogart, Bernadette Peters, and Gregory Peck, who all came to Cape Cod early on in their careers. Bette Davis, drawn to the theater, spent her first summer at Cape Playhouse as an usher before taking to the stage the following year.

the founding of the historic cape playhouse

This Summer at the Playhouse

The Cape Playhouse typically runs a season of productions from June through September, featuring a mix of comedies, dramas, musicals, and classics. The current production of  “Beautiful, the Carole King Musical ”, the true story of Carole King’s musical journey , has won both Tony and Grammy awards.

Two beloved classics take the stage in August, beginning with “Waitress” from August 7-24th.  This quirky, uplifting musical, celebrates motherhood and friendship. Then the August performance of “39 Steps”, based on the Alfred Hitchcock movie, ends the 2024 summer theater productions.

Exploring the Grounds of the Cultural Center

the founding of the historic cape playhouse

Plan to arrive early to find parking, explore the grounds, and get settled before the show starts.  Take some time to stroll around the beautifully maintained grounds of the Cape Playhouse campus.

Located on the same campus as the Cape Playhouse, the Cape Cod Museum of Art features a collection of works by artists associated with Cape Cod.  If time allows you can stroll through their tranquil sculpture garden.

Also, part of the campus, Cape Cinema offers independent films and live performances, providing a full day of cultural activities.

You can enjoy a meal before or after the show at the Encore Bistro & Bar which is on the same campus as the Cape Playhouse.  However, they do not take reservations so if the wait is too long, you can check out other nearby restaurants like Scargo Cafe, The Fin, or the Pheasant.

Special Programs and Events

The Cape Playhouse often hosts special events, workshops, and educational programs in addition to its main stage productions.  A new “Inside Out Experiences” series of programs will provide kids an hands-on experience with set design, props and costumes, complete with crafts and snack.

Also this summer the beloved FUNday Fridays at the Cape Playhouse is back, with performances from the Tanglewood Marionettes and the Cape Cod Shakespeare Festival that will delight children of all ages. As long as the weather cooperates, the events take place on the Outdoor Stage or Lawn, so bring a blanket or beach chair and experience the joy of theater.

the founding of the historic cape playhouse Tickets can be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the box office. It is advisable to buy tickets in advance, especially for popular shows, as performances can sell out quickly. The venue is wheelchair accessible, and accommodations can be made for those with special needs

The Cape Playhouse offers a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment, making it a must-visit destination for theater lovers on Cape Cod.  The playhouse is conveniently located in the heart of Dennis, making it easily accessible from various points on Cape Cod.  Whether you are a local resident or a visitor, attending a performance here is sure to be a highlight of your summer and become a family tradition.

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