Chestnut Street Opera House

1021-1029 Chestnut Street / Philadelphia


  • Seating capacity: 1656. Opened 1877 after fire destroyed original. (philadelphiabuldings.org)

  • Chestnut St. Theatre The [New] Chestnut Street Theatre was built in 1862 on the north side of Chestnut Street between Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets, a full seven blocks to the west of the old theatre, and considered by many too far removed from the theatre district to succeed. But "the rapid westward expansion of center-city Philadelphia soon made the new Chestnut Street Theatre the city's most fashionably located theatrical facility."

  • "September 20, 1877: The new Chestnut Street Opera House, formerly Fox's American Theatre, rebuilt and refurnished, opened for the first time, under the management of George K. Goodwin, with the drama of the Danicheffs." (ushistory.org/philadelphia/timeline/1877)


    Design details

  • 1898: "October 4. The will of colonel Joseph M. Bennett, deposited with the Register of Wills, contained a bequest of the Chestnut Street Opera House and adjoining properties, as well as three properties at Thirty-fourth and Walnut Streets, to the University of Pennsylvania to aid in the co-education of women and girls. Colonel Bennett made a number of bequests to relatives and friends, gave 2,000 each to five charitable institutions, and devised his large residuary estate to the Methodist Orphanage. The will was contested by Imogene E. Bennett-Wellens, whom he refused to recognize as his daughter." (ushistory.org/philadelphia/timeline/1898)

  • "On Chestnut Street, west of Tenth, under the old Chestnut Street Opera House, was the saloon of "Billy" McGonegal, a favorite tippling-place for the journalistic and sporting element." (ushistory.org/philadelphia/drinkingplaces.htm)

  • Following the success of the operetta A Waltz Dream (Ein Walzertraum) in Vienna, productions of the Oscar Straus work were mounted for premieres at the Chestnut Street Opera House in Philadelphia on 6 January 1908. (Wikopedia)

  • FF Mackay was manager of the Chestnut Street Theatre from 1875-78, along with William Gemmill (c. 1845- 1882 CDP) and J. Frederick Scott. However in 1878 severe internal difficulties began and the Company's previously favorable position (as Philadelphia's only first-class resident company) began to erode. Many of the company's best actors resigned.

  • (Philadelphia, Dec. 20, 1893) On New Years Day we open with a Matinee [Lady Windermere's Fan] at Chestnut Street Theatre [Philadelphia] for two weeks.



    (from Philadephiabuildings.org)



    Programs, etc. available onsite from this theatre:

  • Charlotte Cushman Club scrapbook (1890s)

    Individual pages of clippings from Cushman Club book:

  • Pacific Mail / 1895

  • School For Scandal / 1895

  • Taming of the Shrew / 1895

  • Twelfth Night / 1895


    Concert Hall and Chestnut Street Theatre, Chestnut Street at Twelfth (north side)
    1211-27 Chestnut Street. Watercolor by Benjamin R. Evans, 1879

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