The June 2020 tours will be hosted by a Philadelphia (and Walnut) favorite, actor/director Jesse Bernstein!
Tours are approximately one hour and are timed so you have the opportunity to experience them prior to a mainstage matinee performance if you desire.
A National Historic Landmark, the Walnut Street Theatre is the country's oldest theater. While it began as an equestrian circus in 1809, the Walnut Street Theatre was soon setting theatrical trends: installing the nation’s first gas footlights (1837) and air conditioning with “Mr. Barry’s Patent Cool Air Machine” (1855). Once owned by the great classical actor Edwin Booth (John Wilkes’ brother), Walnut’s legacy is preserved in the lobby’s excellent—and extensive—display of hundreds of photos and memorabilia. Some of the world’s most famous performers have played here, including Marlon Brando, Paul Robeson, Audrey Hepburn, Helen Hayes, Groucho Marx, Sidney Poitier, and many others. With its centuries-old bricks attractively exposed in places, today’s theatergoers can actually touch the venue’s history.
Learn more about the great stars that made Walnut Street Theatre their home with our behind the scenes tour. You'll hear about the riots in New York, where Americans fought over who was the world's greatest Shakespearean actor—we, of course, are certain it was Philadelphia's own Edwin Forrest. You'll discover who was the first actor to take a curtain call, and what happened to the skull of Pop Reed! There are so many dramatic stories to tell, and you’ll hear and see them only at the Walnut.