Famous Theater. 

The Cape Playhouse has a unique place in American theatre history as the longest-running professional summer theater in the country. First opened in 1927 in a converted church that remains its home today, the Playhouse is the centerpiece of the Cape Cod Center for the Arts.

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.

A Reputation Built on Tradition

The Cape Playhouse has been declared by the Actors’ Equity Association to be the “Oldest Professional Summer Theatre” in America. Each year, auditions for are held in New York. Most rehearsals take place in New York as well.

Over the years, The Cape Playhouse has gained a reputation for producing the highest quality, professional entertainment in the form of great theatre, and each year tens of thousands continue to enjoy exceptional shows at America’s Oldest Professional Summer Theatre.

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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