America’s Most Famous Summer Theater 

The Cape Playhouse, being named one of the 50 Best Small Stage Theatres in America, has a special place in American theatre history as the longest-running professional summer theater in the country. Referred to as the “Place Where Broadway Goes to Summer” by The New York Times, The Cape Playhouse has attracted a long litany of famous actors since its inception in 1927 including Julie Andrews, Bernadette Peters, Olympia Dukakis, Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Betty White, Gertrude Lawrence, and Ginger Rogers
to name a few.

Theater’s Beginnings.

How it all began…

In the 1920s, founder Raymond Moore wanted to create a summer theatre close to Boston and the more affluent Cape communities. He purchased three-and-a-half acres of land fronting the Old King’s Highway in Dennis, and found the abandoned 19th century Nobscussett meetinghouse located in another part of Dennis. Amazingly, Moore had the large meetinghouse hauled down the road and placed on its present site.

Before air conditioning, New York was unbearable in the summer. The theatres would close, and people escaped the heat by traveling to the coastal resorts. By offering actors the prospect of paid summer work in a professional theatre away from the heat of New York City, Moore convinced the big-name stars to come perform at the new theatre.

Fame Started Here.

The Summer Home to the Stars.

On July 4, 1927, members of the glamorous audience watched the curtain rise on a glittering production of The Guardsman, starring Basil Rathbone and Violet Kemble Cooper – and when it rained, the roof leaked so badly that the audience put up umbrellas! Undaunted, audiences began flocking to Dennis to see the stars.

Young, unknown Bette Davis first worked as an usher before returning the following summer to act. And one promising student named Jane was given a small role in a play starring her father, Henry Fonda. Many actors such as Bette Davis, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Montgomery, and Shirley Booth made their early professional appearances at The Cape Playhouse before going on to win Academy Awards.

Live Life as a Play

It’s not just the history and the beautiful grounds, the Cape Playhouse has outstanding performances and programming.

Must see this Place!

When traveling to the Cape, stop and see a show at the Cape Playhouse. It is a historic church that was moved to the property in the early 1920’s. You sit in pews and there isn’t a bad seat in the house! Many famous actors have graced this stage; see for yourself.

AHK / Maryland

Hidden Gem!

The Cape Playhouse produces shows during the summer months with world class actors, most with Broadway experience and many with Tony nominations.

Yesterday we saw Steel Magnolias. What a treat – great story, humor and acting. If your on or near Cape Cod in the summer, don’t miss a show at the Cape Cod Playhouse.

David E / Boston

Great Surprise!!

I will admit it, my wife made me go, and was I glad she did! This is a very cool old playhouse made of wood. Lots of famous actors and actresses have performed here. We saw a very funny, entertaining musical. Definitely a place to go if you need to fill an evening.

Tommy B / Topeka, KS

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