December 15, 2019

The Ivoryton Playhouse Celebrates A Century On Stage

Milton Stiefel & Katharine Hepburn

The Ivoryton Playhouse is celebrating 100 years of laughter, drama, music, romance and applause — a history that includes 2,436 stage kisses, 764 love stories, 522 villains, the stage debut of Katharine Hepburn and appearances by America’s greatest stars, and that today builds on that singular heritage.
At a May 21 red-carpet benefit, guests will see a show that illustrates the central role that the theater has played over a century — scenes from productions that starred Helen Hays, Tallulah Bankhead, Betty Grable, Marlon Brando, Groucho Marx, Paul Robeson, Ezio Pinza, Don Ameche, and many other stage legends, all of whom were brought to Ivoryton by Milton Stiefel, who had the vision to create what became America’s most enduring summer theater, now a year-round stage.
Building on that rich heritage is crucial to Jacqueline Hubbard, who has been the Playhouse’s executive and artistic director for 12 years. “Like everything else in this world, the theatre has seen a lot of changes over the past 100 years. Today, with so much of our lives spent in virtual communication, the theatre plays an even more vital role; especially here in Ivoryton where the history and the intimacy of the space make the experience of coming to this theatre so unique. We are proud to preserve this rich theatrical heritage and thrilled to be able to bring new and exciting performers and performances to this area.” 

Indeed, the remainder of the 2011 season shows the kind of theatrical diversity and relevance that Stiefel had in mind. From Neil Simon’s perennial favorite, the romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park, to the hilarity of Mel Brooks with the Broadway hit The Producers, followed by a true American classic Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash – featuring members of the Broadway cast. The fall continues the season with the pop sensation The Marvelous Wonderettes – all your favorite songs of the 50’s and 60’s and the spine chilling The Woman in Black.
On Sunday May 22, the town of Ivoryton will continue the celebrations with a town-wide event including free family theatre in the Playhouse , live music on the green and horse and bugg rides. The Ivoryton Tavern is turning into a 1950’s soda fountain for the day; Six Summit Gallery will offer mask making for children; storytelling at the Ivoryton Library and Aggies Restaurant will feature a tag sale and cupcake decorating. 
Built in 1911 as a recreation hall for the workers of the Comstock-Cheney factory, the Ivoryton Playhouse has been an important part of Connecticut’s cultural landscape for every one of its 100 years. Traveling vaudeville shows and silent movies entertained residents of the shoreline area in its early years.

With his New York and Hollywood connections, Stiefel brought the stars to Ivoryton. Established actors like Henry Hull and Norma Terris signed on to perform.  The reputation of the Playhouse grew nationally and Paramount Pictures produced a short film showing its complete operation.
In recent years the theater has continued to win critical praise: Connecticut Critic Circle Awards and, most recently, a Shoreline Arts Alliance Bravo award in 2010 for Best Theatre and the 2010 Shoreline Times Readers Poll Best Theatre award.  

Whether it be the Man in Black or the Woman in Black……love in the USA or UK……anthems of America or Ireland, the Ivoryton Playhouse 2011 Centennial Season has a great year of entertainment waiting for you.  Come and see what we have on stage this season and celebrate! 
For more information on the benefit, the 2011 season, and all things Ivoryton Playhouse, please call 860.767.9520 or visit our newly designed website at

The Ivoryton Playhouse
100th Birthday Season!
The Irish and how they got that way
by Frank McCourt
March 16-April 3, 2011
How the other half loves
by Alan Ayckbourn
April 13 – May 1, 2021
Barefoot in the park
by Neil Simon
June 8 – June26, 2011
The producers
By Mel Brooks,July 6 – July 31, 2011
Ring of fire:  The Music of Johnny Cash
Created and Directed by Richard Maltby Jr. Conceived by William MeadeAugust 10 – September 4, 2011
The marvelous wonderettes
by Roger Bean
September 28 – October 16, 2011
The Woman in Black
Adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt
November 2 – 20, 2011