Regional Theater of the Week: Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, PA!
By: Christina Mancuso
BroadwayWorld.com, the largest theatre site on the Internet, is excited to announce a new feature to its comprehensive regional coverage - the Featured Regional Theater of the Week! Each week, BWW will introduce its readers to a regional theater located in one of our (over 130!) coverage cities. By exploring these different venues, their history and showcasing the production seasons, BWW continues its commitment to expand our presence in communities and cities across the United States.
This Week's Featured Regional Theater: Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, PA!
The Bucks County Playhouse is located in New Hope, Pennsylvania, at the site of a former grist mill on the banks of the Delaware River. The original structure was built in 1790 when owner Benjamin Parry rebuilt the Hope Mills, which had recently burned down. The newly christened New Hope Mills inspired the village to change its name from Coryell’s Ferry to New Hope.
Facing demolition in the 1930s, the site was saved when a small band of artists, including Broadway playwright and Bucks County resident Moss Hart, helped rally the local community to renovate it as a theater. The Bucks County Playhouse opened on July 1, 1939, with a production of Springtime for Henry, featuring Edward Everett Horton.
Over the next 70 years, a veritable Who’s Who of Hollywood and Broadway legends have played the stage of BCP—Grace Kelly, Angela Lansbury, Bea Arthur, Walter Matthau, Uta Hagen, Leslie Neilson, Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn (in their first stage production together), Liza Minnelli, Helen Hayes, Tovah Feldshuh, Andrea McArdle, June Lockhart, Colleen Dewhurst, Kitty Carlisle, Bert Lahr, and Robert Redford, to name a few.
BCP has also showcased some of the theatre’s most beloved musicals and plays, including She Loves Me, West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Annie Get Your Gun, The Glass Menagerie, The Odd Couple, Dial M for Murder, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The Playhouse has also launched many Broadway productions including the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, Harvey, Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, and James Whitmore’s one-man show about Harry Truman, Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!
With the inauguration of The Playhouse’s 2012 season, BCP once again takes its place as “America’s Most Famous Summer Theatre.”
The summer 2012 season at BCP marks the reopening of this legendary and beloved landmark. The season will launch with A Grand Night for Singing by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and then the summer continues with Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon and It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.