- Last Updated on 07:46 AM 02/25/13
- BY Special to the Gazette
Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia is the state theatre of Pennsylvania. The theatre opened in 1809, and soon after Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette attended the opening night of “The Rivals.”
Gas footlights were installed in 1837, and Walnut Street Theatre was the first theatre to have air conditioning in1855.
The curtain call began at the theatre when the noted 19th century actor Edmund Kean appeared onstage after the curtain had fallen to speak with the audience.
Amazingly, John Wilkes Booth’s brother Edwin Booth, purchased the theatre in 1863 and was able to make the theatre prosper even through the dark days after Lincoln’s assassination by his brother.
The theatre gained fame and fortune when the Shubert organization purchased it in the 1940s, making it the pre-Broadway try-out for such classic plays as “A Streetcar Named Desire” starring Marlon Brando, “A Raisin in the Sun” featuring Sydney Poitier and “The Diary of Anne Frank” featuring Susan Strasberg.
“Mister Roberts,” starring Henry Fonda, opened at the Walnut in 1948. Fonda, recently discharged from the Navy, used his own uniform in the play. In 1961 Neil Simon’s first Broadway play, “Come Blow your Horn,” debuted.
On Tuesday night the rich traditions of Walnut Street Theatre will continue at The Prizery as their touring company presents Jules Verne’s story “Around the World in 80 Days.” It’s a whirlwind journey filled with exotic locales, daring adventures, narrow escapes and great fun.
Jules Verne’s masterpiece will definitely keep those attending on the edge of their seats — at least until they begin to roll in the aisle with laughter.
The piece is adapted by Mark Brown and is created by five brilliant actors.
The public is invited to attend this evening of theatre created by American’s longest producing theatrical organization.
“We are grateful to MBC-Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation for their support for making this performance possible,” said Prizery Artistic Director Chris Jones.
Additional support has come from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Prizery is supported by the Town of South Boston, Halifax County and Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Tickets can be purchased at the box-office at 434-572-8339 or at www.prizery.com.
Material contained in the article is credited to the Walnut Street Theatre’s website and Mark Brown.