Ever since its birth in a big red barn in 1930, Westport Country Playhouse has embodied the perfect blend of theatrical professionalism and rustic New England charm. Some of the greatest performers of the 20th century—Bert Lahr, Laurette Taylor, Paul Robeson, Helen Hayes, Ethel Barrymore, and Jose Ferrer, to name a few—have trod those boards. In 1946, Thornton Wilder appeared as the stage manager in his own play, Our Town, and in 2002 famed Westport resident Paul Newman played the part in a production that later transferred to Broadway. Newman’s wife, actress Joanne Woodward, has had a key role in the development of the Playhouse since 2000, when she took on the role of artistic director.
Given its beautiful location, just an hour outside of New York City, Westport Country Playhouse markets itself as a travel destination, complete with specialty and tour packages that allow travelers to enjoy Westport restaurants, inns, and historic attractions. The Playhouse’s entertainment goes beyond its top-notch productions, such as concerts, Selected Shorts short-story readings, and other seasonal offerings.
Few regional theaters offer the kind of intensive hands-on instruction that Westport does. The Woodward Internship Program gives aspiring theater professionals the chance to train in any number of disciplines, including stage management, scenic construction, painting, administration, and marketing, while earning college credit. And the Woodward Apprentice Program allows high-school students (as well as some adults) to get their feet wet through firsthand experience working with production staff and through classes and workshops.
Westport Country Playhouse Information
- Public Transportation: Fair (Metro North to Westport station, then taxi to theater)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Performance schedule is Tuesday–Sunday, with occasional Monday shows
- Ticket Prices: $30–$55, discounts available for groups of 10 or more
- Subscriptions: Packages include Six-Play $192-$360, Five-Play $160–$300, and Four-Play ($160–$260)
- Subscription Alternatives: Flex pass, $45 per ticket, six-ticket minimum; Family Pack, 10 tickets for $260; Business Class, six tickets for $378; and Ultra Pass, $45 per ticket, eight-ticket minimum). Subscribers save an average of $75 over single ticket buyers. Benefits include special discounts for guest tickets, special events, and easy ticket exchanges.