The Cape Playhouse Dennis MA
Authors: Marco & Angelo

Authors: Marco & Angelo

We own the Candleberry Inn, a boutique bed and breakfast in central Cape Cod. We're glad to share our recommendations on all the great things to explore throughout Cape Cod.

A Local’s Guide to The Cape Playhouse in Dennis MA

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    One of the best things about Cape Cod is its amazing performing arts community. In Dennis, The Cape Playhouse is a historic, legendary theatre that has been entertaining locals and visitors alike for about 100 years.

    The oldest professional summer theater in the nation is located on lovely Cape Cod, where you may experience the wonder of live theater! Every summer, the Cape Playhouse in Dennis invites the most recognized performers from Broadway, television, and film to Cape Cod. The Cape Playhouse also provides engaging and instructive children’s theater.

    Get our free Cape Cod Vacation Guide, full of the best things to do in Cape Cod. The best activities, restaurants, museums, events, views, and much more!

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    Things to Do in Cape Cod - The Cape Playhouse
    photo via Michelle M

    Here’s everything you need to know about catching a play at The Cape Playhouse during your Cape Cod getaway…

    An Overview of The Cape Playhouse

    Named one of the best small-stage theatres in the country, The Cape Playhouse is the longest-running professional summer theatre in America. It strives to use exceptional cinematic arts, horticulture, and live theatre to educate, entertain, and inspire viewers.

    Native American Land

    The Cape Playhouse is located on land that once belonged to the Wampanoag People. Mashantampaine, the chief of the Nobscussett Tribe who called the land home, deeded most of the land that is now the Town of Dennis to the settlers. By acknowledging this, the theatre aims to honor and pay respects to the Wampanoag community.

    The Theatre’s History & Star Performers

    With the goal of creating a summer theatre near Boston and the Cape’s more affluent communities, Raymond Moore bought 3.5 acres of land in Dennis along Old King’s Highway in the 1920s. He also found an abandoned, 19th-century Nobscussett meetinghouse in another area of town and had it moved to his land where it still stands today.

    When it opened in 1927, air conditioning didn’t exist yet. The theatres in New York would close while people traveled to coastal destinations to escape the summer heat. The Cape Playhouse offered performers paid summer work on a professional stage in a cooler region of the country.

    Over time, it became known as the “Place Where Broadway Goes to Summer,” attracting the talents of many famous actors and actresses — Betty White, Julie Andrews, Ginger Rogers, Gertrude Lawrence, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Montgomery, and Shirley Booth, to name a few. Bette Davis worked at the theatre as an usher before taking to the stage the following summer, and Jane Fonda had a small role in a play that starred Henry Fonda, her father.

    The Cape Playhouse Campus

    Once you walk onto the gorgeous campus of The Cape Playhouse, you’re transported into a simpler time. The landscape and buildings are the perfect backdrops for the theatre’s historic and magical tone. The theatre itself is a historic landmark, and it’s the anchor for the grounds. It even rests along Route 6A — aka. Old King’s Highway — one of the most scenic roads in the United States.

    Also, the campus is home to the Encore Bistro & Bar, a fine-dining restaurant with a casual bar. This trendy American venue serves upmarket seafood and meat dishes. It’s known for having an exquisite menu, featuring a range of flavors from lobster rolls and Maui poke bowls to New York strips and lamb lollipops. The dining room has a quaint ambiance, and you can eat on the patio.

    Shows at The Cape Playhouse

    During its about 100-year history, The Cape Playhouse has produced many top-rated plays. These have included:

    • Grease
    • Murder on the Orient Express
    • Little Shop of Horrors
    • Steel Magnolias
    • My Fair Lady
    • Footloose
    • Clue: On Stage

    Generally, each play is performed over a 10-day period from June to September with afternoon and evening showtimes. The single-seat tickets are ideal for watching a show during a Cape Cod getaway, and there are three price categories to choose from, accommodating all budgets.

    The Cape Playhouse Dennis MA

    Things to Do Near The Cape Playhouse

    Dennis — an All American Town — and Dennis Village have always been supportive backdrops for The Cape Playhouse. In fact, many things to do in Dennis are just a short walk or drive away. Here are a few of our favorite places to go before or after a theatre show.

    Cape Cinema

    If you’re in the mood to watch a film, it’s less than a 5-minute walk on the campus to the Cape Cinema. This locally owned art house features art on the ceiling and showcases the best foreign and independent movies alongside arts performances and special events and screenings.

    Some of the series that you can expect to see include Bolshoi Ballet, Exhibition on Screen, Great Art on Screen, Met Operas, National Theatre Live, and Throwback Thursday. You can even listen to live indie rock concerts here during the summer.

    Cape Cod Museum of Art

    Next to the Cape Cinema, the Cape Cod Museum of Art features rotating exhibitions of works by some of the finest artists on the Cape. The marvelous art collection celebrates Cape Cod’s distinct artistic identity, as well as that of the rest of the region.

    Founded in 1981 by artists, the museum has a diverse programming schedule too, including classes for youths and adults, an Art & Alzheimer’s program, and a pottery program. And, it hosts special events throughout the year — music in the summer and Oktoberfest in the fall.

    Before you leave, we recommend stopping by the CCMoA Museum Shop. Everything that it sells is made by a Cape Cod artist or artisan. Even if you don’t explore the museum, you can stop by the museum shop for gifts or souvenirs. There’s no admission fee.

    Dennis-Area Beaches

    Resting on Cape Cod Bay, Dennis is home to several excellent beaches. Any of the beaches are great places to go before or after watching a theatrical performance. But, a few of them are pretty close to the theatre (within a 5-minute drive) and offer decent amenities:

    • Princess Beach is located on Scargo Lake, offering a freshwater retreat with walking trails and a picnic area.
    • Corporation Beach rests along Nobscussett Harbor and has a concession stand and rinse towers.
    • Mayflower Beach is located on Cape Cod Bay and has a boardwalk, concession stand, and rinse towers.

    Scargo Tower

    A well-known historical attraction in Dennis, Scargo Tower is a 30-foot, cobblestone tower on top of Scargo Hill, one of the tallest points on Cape Cod. At the top on a clear day, you get a panoramic view that stretches from Barnstable’s Sandy Neck to Provincetown’s Pilgrim Monument. Climbing it is one of the most romantic things to do on Cape Cod.

    Fin - one of the best seafood restaurants in Cape Cod
    photo via Fin

    Where to Eat Near The Cape Playhouse

    In addition to the Encore Bistro & Bar, Dennis and Dennis Village are full of delicious restaurants for afternoon coffees and treats, before-the-show dinners, and after-the-show drinks. Best of all, there are several eateries within a 5-minute walk of The Cape Playhouse.

    The Underground Bakery

    Presenting new ideas in an old-style family bakery, The Underground Bakery is a full-service bake shop where almost everything is made from scratch with simple ingredients — butter, eggs, flour, sugar, and yeast. It even roasts its own deli meats — corned beef, pastrami, pulled pork, and turkey — when possible.

    You can order breakfast, lunch panini and wraps, ramen, and vegan items. And, it wouldn’t be a bakery without sweet treats, such as cannoli and cakes. You can order organic, fair-trade coffee too!

    Cape Cod Creamery

    To help you cool off on a hot day (or to satisfy your sweet tooth), Cape Cod Creamery has some of the creamiest, most flavorful, and smoothest ice cream on Cape Cod. You can choose from 30 flavors, all of which are made from the finest ingredients — Colombian coffee, French cocoa, hormone-free cream from dairy farms in New England, Italian mint, and Madagascan vanilla.

    Harvest Gallery Wine Bar

    For drinks before or after a show at The Cape Playhouse, head to Harvest Gallery Wine Bar. This spot serves signature cocktails, unique wines, and a selection of beer. You can get non-alcoholic beverages as well — Snowy Owl Coffee, hibiscus iced tea, and more.

    If you want a small bite to eat, some popular items include the Korean short rib bao, lobster slider, and cheese and charcuterie. Plus, there’s a lovely dessert menu featuring a few gluten-free options — carrot cake cupcakes, lemon ricotta cheesecake, and Mexican chocolate cake.

    Call ahead for an in-person showing of the bar’s art collection, from paintings and photos to glasswork and sculptures.

    Fin Restaurant

    Open seasonally from May to September, Fin restaurant is a chef-owned restaurant in a two-story antique home that focuses on cooking with fresh, local ingredients. The raw bar features oysters, bluefin tuna tartar, bluefin toro sashimi, and shrimp cocktail. The rest of the menu includes a range of fresh seafood and more, such as Wagyu striploin and Duroc pork belly.

    Scargo Cafe

    Whether you have lunch on the deck or terrace, or dinner by the fire, Scargo Cafe always has an intimate atmosphere for romantic dates. You’ll find New England cuisine on the menu from burgers and sandwiches to seafood, steaks, and wings. Plus, you can order seasonal cocktails, unique local craft beers, and a variety of international wines.

    Get our free Cape Cod Vacation Guide, full of the best things to do in Cape Cod. The best activities, restaurants, museums, events, views, and much more!

    Click here to request the guide.

    Bed, bath robes, and bathroom in Treetops room at Candleberry Inn Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast

    Where to Stay Near The Cape Playhouse

    When you plan to experience professional performing arts at The Cape Playhouse, stay at Candleberry Inn in nearby Brewster. Our bed and breakfast is only about a 10-minute drive from the theatre. And, even if you don’t explore Dennis, you’ll find tons of things to do in Brewster before and after the show.

    Our comfortable rooms have been designed to maintain the historical charm of our inn. Every morning, you’ll wake to an incredible homemade breakfast, and you’re welcome to take advantage of our luxurious amenities.

    Find a room for your Cape Cod travel dates today!

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