In the late 1800s, George Swartz moved to Colorado to seek treatment for his tubercular lungs. Swartz was a great lover of Shakespeare and as part of his treatment regime began to read aloud from the Bard's works. His family would gather to hear him in the evenings and as time passed so did growing circle of friends and curious neighbors. When he began to build his new house on ****** Street, he designed a theater in the basement to accommodate his growing audience.
Finished in 1911, the Bungalow Theater included a miniature proscenium with terraced seating and benches along the walls. There was also an open orchestra pit that is now covered by the stage apron. It is in many ways the original home theater! With the help of his family and friends, Swartz was able to stage all of Shakespeare's plays and local legend has it that the Bungalow was the first theater west of the Mississippi to have done so.
After Swartz's death in 1937, the building was served as a meeting space for various organizations. It housed the local Church of Latter Days Saints congregation from 1944 -1954 and was later used as meeting space by the Girl Scouts.
In 1956 the theater was once again reestablished with the arrival of Paul Willet. Renamed the Gaslight in 1964, under Willet's direction, the venue would gain national attention for its regional premieres of Equus, Slow Dance on the Killing Ground and Arthur Miller's The Price.
Willet was the creative director until his death in 1984. During the next two decades the theater was renamed the Denver Victorian Playhouse and passed through various hands. It was closed in 2000 and in May of 2005 was taken over by Wade and Lorraine Wood. The present operators of "The Vic" hope to carry on the tradition of providing entertainment that began here 95 years ago!
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 11:00am Mountain Time
Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 1:00pm Mountain Time
Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 10:00am Mountain Time
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