Ogunquit Playhouse // 1937

Opened in 1933 in a converted garage and relocated to the existing building upon its completion in the summer of 1937, the Ogunquit Playhouse is an important part of Maine’s historic twentieth-century cultural landscape. The Playhouse was founded by former Hollywood director and Broadway producer Walter Hartwig and his wife Maude, and the building was designed by theater architect Alexander Wyckoff. The site on Rt-1 was intentional as the highway was the main coastal route for the inter-war summer tourist travel. The Colonial-inspired theater was in keeping with the historic nature of New England, but with the grandeur to attract a nation-wide summer audience. Early articles mentioned the building constructed of “…steel and wood, painted white with green shutters and roof, is simple in line, suggesting the Colonial architecture of New England”. Walter Hartwig died in 1941, and his widow Maude took over as the producer for the upcoming season. In 1947, she engaged George Abbott, New York’s most distinguished playwright/producer to share in the managerial duties, and in 1950 John Lane arrived as co-producer. Lane acquired the property in the following year, counting among his first tasks the rebuilding of the stage which was destroyed by a storm the year prior and changing the landscape to move the parking lot in front of the building to the side. The Ogunquit Playhouse continues its 26-week season runs from May through October, with off-season co-productions at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH. Go see a show before the season is over!

3 thoughts on “Ogunquit Playhouse // 1937

  1. Marlin Williams August 29, 2022 / 5:39 pm

    It has always amazed me thatan entire building can be moved from one place to another. I’ve seen it done one time — a Methodist Church moved about a mile. The whole village shut down — it was quite an engineering feat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Buildings of New England August 29, 2022 / 5:40 pm

      I should have been more clear. The original playhouse was in an old garage elsewhere. They eventually had enough funding to build an entirely new playhouse elsewhere, which is the current building. This was built from scratch on the present site.


  2. Marlin Williams August 29, 2022 / 8:28 pm

    Sorry my mistake. I should have read the text more carefully.


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