Walnut Street Theatre
America’s oldest theater
A National Historic Landmark and recently declared the official State Theatre of Pennsylvania, the Walnut Street Theatre offers very popular theatrical fare. With its centuries-old bricks attractively exposed in places, you can actually touch the theater’s history.
Once owned by the great classical actor Edwin Booth (John Wilkes’ brother), Walnut’s legacy is preserved in the lobby’s excellent display of photos and memorabilia. Currently, classic musicals like My Fair Lady or The Sound of Music, popular comedy like Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs and the occasional drama make up its season. The repertory’s wide appeal is reflected in the size of the theater’s subscription audience, which is the largest of any regional theater company in the world.
What began as a circus in 1809 was soon setting theater trends: installing the nation’s first gas footlights (1837) and air conditioning with Mr. Barry’s Patent Cool Air Machine (1855). For much of the 20th century, it was a Broadway touring house, and many of the country’s most famous actors played here including Marlon Brando, Paul Robeson, Audrey Hepburn, Helen Hayes, Groucho Marx, Sidney Poitier and many others.
Show up at the box office at 6 p.m. and you might get lucky! “Tix at Six” offers remaining tickets at half price. Or call ahead to reserve one of the 22 upper balcony seats priced at only $10.
There’s even a special series just for kids. See their Web site for what’s on offer for children this season.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
Broad Street and Spruce Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
- Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Sports Museum
- Pennsylvania Ballet
- The Academy of Music
- Merriam Theater
- Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
- Rustic Music
- The Philadelphia Orchestra
- Washington Square
- Philadelphia Sketch Club
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining