Walnut Street Theatre
Located at Walnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Walnut Street Theatre or The Walnut stands amongst the oldest operating theatres, across United States. The theatre opened its doors for the audiences in 1809, when it was built by the Circus of Pepin and Breschard. Back then it was called The New Circus, and was one of the several venues that were built by the Circus of Pepin and Breschard in United States, which featured not only their circus but also some other classical plays and other events. By 1811, The New Circus underwent some renovations, and that duty was handed over to the architect William Strickland. After the conclusion of the renovation, the name of the theatre was once again changed, to "The Olympic", and the additions of orchestra pit and a stage were made to the theatre. Walnut Street Theatre's first production after the renovation was "The Rivals", which was also attended by former American president Thomas Jefferson. The name of the theatre was once again changed in 1820 to The Walnut Street Theatre that was once again changed to The Olympic back in 1822. However after almost 6 years later, the name was reverted back to its current form that is The Walnut Street Theatre.
In the history of American Theatre, The Walnut was the first one to make use of certain innovations that were never used in any other theatre before, including gas footlights that were installed in 1837, and later air conditioning was added up in 1855. Later in 1863, the ownership of the theatre was transferred to Edwin Booth as he purchased the theatre, accompanied with his brother in law, John Sleeper Clarke. However the reputation of the theatre faced a major downfall, as Edwin Booth's brother John Wilkes Booth, assassinated the President at Ford's Theatre. During those days, Edwin Booth along with Sleeper Clarke struggled with the Theatre and kept the tradition going.
The following year, the theatre was designated as a National Historic Landmark, and almost 5 years later the theatre was turned into a performing Arts Center after another overhaul. Ever since then, the Walnut has hosted a number of dance, music, theatre and other events, annually. The Walnut also hosted the first televised presidential speech between Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter on September 23, 1976. In 1893, a non profit producing company was formed, named The Walnut Street Theatre Company, which subscribes more than 56,000 subscribers every year, becoming the largest subscribed theatre in the world.
The Walnut has hosted a number of memorable theatre events in its glowing history, including the pre-Broadway Try outs of A Man for All Seasons, The Diary of Anne Frank, Mister Roberts, A Stretcher Named Desire, Gigi and a lot more. 2008 marked the 200th season of the Walnut Street Theatre.
The current and upcoming Main stage season at the theatre this year include the performances of; The Producers from May 12 till July 19, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels from September 08 till October 25 and Oliver from November 10 till January 10, 2010.