Once a humble high-school auditorium, the renovated Ridgefield Playhouse is now an admirable venue and important cultural hub in Ridgefield, Connecticut. This stage hosts a rich array of performing-arts productions and other community events.
The building that now houses the Ridgefield Playhouse was the design of Cass Gilbert Jr. in 1938. At that time, it was home to the Ridgefield High School, and the auditorium was an important community hub that played host to not only school performances but also a variety of other community events and town meetings before the high school moved in 1972. After renovations that converted it into what is now the Ridgefield Playhouse, the venue opened in December 2000 with a performance by guitarist Jose Feliciano.
The Ridgefield Playhouse hosts a broad variety of events, including film screenings, theatrical productions and concerts. Some of its past musical acts included appearances by Joan Baez, Gregg Allman, The Doobie Brothers, Melissa Etheridge and many others. The Ridgefield Playhouse has also hosted hilarious comedians such as Joan Rivers, Ron White, Martin Short and Dana Carvey. Famous speakers like Ira Glass, Stephen Sondheim and David Sedaris have graced this stage. Yet with all these big names coming through, the Ridgefield Playhouse still prioritizes its rotation of community events, including performances by the Ridgefield High School Orchestra and local dance companies. It also hosts the annual town meeting and a variety of children's events.
The Ridgefield Playhouse's updated layout features 500 seats for spectators. In the new design, renovators have admirably preserved the superior acoustics while installing retractable draperies to control sound for film screenings. The new playhouse also features a stage adequately reinforced for dance performances. A hand-painted mural depicting scenes of historic Ridgefield welcomes all guests in the lobby too.
Beyond the doors of the Ridgefield Playhouse are many opportunities for local exploration. Visitors to this area can enjoy the Keeler Tavern Museum, a historical building featuring information about colonial life in the region. The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is another regional favorite, while the adventure-minded can take on an outing in Seth Low Pierrepont State Park. Also worth a stop is Weir Farm, Connecticut's only national park devoted to the American impressionist painter J. Alden Weir and other similar artists.
Looking for other live entertainment? Another great venue close by is Ives Concert Park in Danbury. Plus, just across the New York State border is the Caramoor Center for Music Arts, a premier destination for exceptional music in a beautiful estate setting.
The building's architect Cass Gilbert Jr. was the son of architect Cass Gilbert, who designed the Supreme Court Building and the Woolworth Building.
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