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
1301 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
- Alexander Inn
- Rodeway Inn Center City
- The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia
- Hilton Garden Inn Center City
- Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel
- Holiday Inn Express
- Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District
- Holiday Inn Express Midtown
- Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
- View more hotels
Museums & Attractions
12th and Arch Streets
The Pennsylvania Convention Center
Philadelphia, PA 19107
- National Archives and Records Administration Mid-Atlantic Region
- PSFS Building
- National Constitution Center
- Hard Rock Cafe Philadelphia
- Merriam Theater
- National Liberty Museum
- Pennsylvania Hospital
- Center City District Sips
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining