In the early part of the 20th century, many called The Playhouse Theatre of Rutland, Vermont one of the finest theatres in America and very few, reportedly, were more artistically designed or appointed. Built in 1912 & 1913 by George T. Chaffee. The Theatre opened on January 16, 1914. The classical style exterior architecture of the building reflected the "City Beautiful" movement of the time, while the interior took on the look of a Victorian opera house. The theatre provided seating for 1000 patrons in the orchestra, balcony, and 6 boxes flanking the proscenium arch.
Du Barry rose tapestry covered the side-walls, and velour hangings of the same shade adorned the boxes. The ceilings were beautifully decorated with gold leaf, and a large oval painting representing music, lyric art, and the dramas shown among the 150 softly glowing incandescent ceiling lights. The floors of the auditorium, aisles, boxes, and lobby were carpeted in green with wilton.
Top performers traveling via the Rutland Railroad between Montreal and Boston, would stop to perform in The Playhouse. Minstrel shows, grand and light opera, and vaudeville, and appearances by Tom Thumb, Will Rogers, Sarah Bernhardt, Ethel Barrymore, and The Great Houdini, delighted local audiences.
During the disastrous flood of 1927, while water lapped at the foundation, the theatre provided refuge for Rutland residents driven out of their homes in lower parts of the city.
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