Walnut Street Theatre
Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest theatre in America, celebrating 200 years in 2009, after opening on February 2, 1809.
Standing at the corner of Ninth and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, many noteworthy American performers and magicians of the 19th century and 20th century have appeared on its stage.
The Walnut was the first theatre in America to have gas footlights and then air conditioning. In 1863, the Walnut was purchased by famed actor Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes Booth.
- Signor Antonio Blitz (1810-1877) might have performed there back in the mid 1800's, as he lived in Philadelphia for a time.
- "Magic: A Picture History" by Milbourne Christopher (1991) has a poster showing "Tuck Quy, Wan Sing, and Yan Yow were among the Chinese magicians who showed their Oriental wonders at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia in 1853."
- On July 4th 1853, Robert Heller opened at the Walnut Street Theatre for a three week run.
- Powell reports in the Sphinx (Sept. 1927) that he first saw Alexander Herrmann there during the summer season of 1874.
- The Sphinx (April 1915) reported Howard Thurston playing there and the Magic World also reports him making his annual appearance there in 1918.
- According to the website for the theatre, Harry Houdini performed.
- Carl Hertz states in his autobiography that he played there.
- In October 1947, the Blackstone Sr. Show was at the Walnut Street Theatre
- The MUM for Feb. 1977 reported that Dick Gustafson, Past National S.A.M. President, was performing an illusion show there for the holiday season.
- The Asparagus Valley Cultural Society (e.g. Penn and Teller) performed their first extended run, the Walnut Street Theatre, began in January of 1977 and played again in 1978.