|The Savannah Theatre opened its doors for the first time on December 4th, 1818 with a production of the comedy "Soldiers Daughter" and the farce "Raising the Wind"
The original structure was designed by renowned architect William Jay. Among Jay's other celebrated works is the Telfair Mansion, built for Alexander Telfair in 1819
In its first 20 years the theatre would change hands several times, twice at auction. But in 1838 a more stable stock company was organized and the theatre was incorporated in December of that year, and issued this seal of incorporation.
Over the past two centuries the theatre has undergone several face-lifts as a result of damage from fires. During the mid-20th Century, the theatre was converted into a motion picture house, and remained as such until the late 1970's when it was sold to the Little Theatre of Savannah.
As a result of the 1948 fire, the theatre was remodeled to its current Art Deco style.
Some of the many illustrious stars to perform at the Savannah Theatre include Fanny Davenport, E.H. Sothern, Julia Marlowe, Otis Skinner, Henry Irving, Tyrone Power, Ellen Terry, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Lillian Russell, W.C. Fields, and Edwin Booth.
Although probable, it is unknown as to whether or not Booth's brother, John Wilkes, played here as well.
Joseph Jefferson, who played Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" here in 1903, was actually managaer of the Savannah Theatre as a young man in the 1850's.
Today, the Savannah Theatre remains a wonderful example of the 1940's Art Deco style. Restored in 2002, the Savannah Theatre combines a state-of-the-art sound and light system with the classic backdrop of the nation's oldest continually-operating theatre.
Location: Savannah, GA
Category: Buildings: Other
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