Modern American drama was born in Provincetown when the Provincetown Players were founded in July, 1915. They are credited with changing American theater forever by birthing the careers of famous playwrights such as Eugene O’Neill and Susan Glaspell, who would eventually relocate to Greenwich Village to found the historic and famous Provincetown Playhouse. These revolutionary artists set the stage for Provincetown to become a hub for talented and innovative theatrical minds. Ever since, Provincetown has been an incubator for brilliant theatrical characters, many of whom would go on to become well-known on an international stage.
Modern-day theater in Provincetown is led by its two professional theater companies: the Provincetown Theater and the Peregrine Theater. The Provincetown Theater was originally founded in 1963 and since then has changed names and locations multiple times before arriving at its current location at 238 Bradford Street. For the Provincetown Theater, Obie Award winner David Drake leads the production of the two major productions of the year, August: Osage County, showing in May, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, for July and August. In addition, the theater will host a 4-star solo show festival, the Provincetown Dance Festival, as well as a live-radio play of It’s a Wonderful Life and the new play Best Lesbian Erotica 1995 by Miranda Rose Hall.
Peregrine Theater’s executive director, Adam Berry, has high hopes for his theater. He states “we want theater to be back in the forefront of P’town. It’s the birthplace of American theater.” The Peregrine Theater’s 2019 season will feature Cabaret, directed and choreographed by Kyle Pleasant. Set in a Berlin nightclub during the politically tumultuous end of the 1920s, romance drives the characters of diverse backgrounds into relationships destined for rich drama. Plesant’s choreography has been called “mercilessly gorgeous” and Kristen Morale of “Broadway World” said of his 2017 Chicago “With the clear effort put into this show by cast and crew alike, I don’t want to say it is ‘comparable’ to the Broadway production currently on Broadway; although incredibly true, to do so would be to undermine the unique quality of Peregrine’s production.”
Performance Art in Provincetown
Performance art in Provincetown is not limited to these two establishments. The Art House has a Broadway summer season that is chock-full of well-known performers. Seth Rudetsky, as the music director and host of the Broadway music series, will be joined by Beth Malone (star of Broadway’s Angels in America), Gavin Creel (Tony Award winner for her 2017 performance in Hello Dolly), and finally Jessie Mueller (Tony Award winner for Beautiful) in a series of a musical weekends. Crown and Anchor also boasts Broadway talent, many of whom have won the industry’s top awards. Emmy winner Lucie Arnaz, as well as three Tony Award winners, Lillias White (“The Life”) Linda Lavin (“Broadway Bound”), and John Lloyd Young (Tony and Grammy award winner for “Jersey Boys”) will all make appearances during the summer. Carnival week at the Crown and Anchor will be kicked off by Broadway star and musical celebrity Todrick Hall. The Pilgrim House brings talented Broadway child cast member Rich White from The King and I and The Sound of Music to perform his own A Broadway Baby All Grown Up? Each of these establishments has an enriching summer season that brings shockingly impressive talent usually found in a big city than in a beautiful beach town. In Provincetown, you have the opportunity to experience both.