Mount Gretna Playhouse | Gretna Theatre

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Walking through Mount Gretna, with its gingerbread house-like cottages and tree-dappled paths, feels like you’ve entered a storybook village. It’s a true paradise in the summer, as the Lake and the beloved Jigger Shop ice cream shop reopen and the renowned art show returns.

But Mount Gretna is more than a place to grab an ice cream sundae or take a swim, it’s a cultural oasis with a rich artistic and cultural history.

The Chautauqua

Mount Gretna was formed in 1891 as part of the Chautauqua movement happening in upstate New York. City dwellers found respite from the summer heat in towns like The Catskills and The Finger Lakes and wanted to provide the city’s educational, cultural, and entertainment opportunities with town residents.

The movement focused on the four pillars of religion, philosophy, arts, and culture. At the height of the movement, there were 100 Chautauquas around the country. Only 14 remain today, with Mount Gretna as the second most active Chautauqua in the United States.

Gretna Theatre/Gretna Playhouse

The open-air Playhouse was built in 1892, allowing the Pennsylvania Chautauqua to host large outdoor events centered around the pillars of religion, philosophy, arts, and culture. To provide entertainment, the Chautauqua began producing theatrical pieces in 1927.

Throughout its history, the Playhouse has welcomed America’s biggest stars to the stage while also encouraging and shepherding young actors into the industry. Fun fact: award-winning actress Bernadette Peters got her start at Gretna!

Upcoming Performances

The Theatre will host a staged reading of Strictly Platonic on Friday, Sept. 10. Then, guests can celebrate the spooky season at the end of the month with Nevermore – The Fantastic Terrors of Edgar Allan Poe. Audiences will feel Poe’s most popular works come to life as night falls in Mount Gretna.

For its 2022 season, which kicks off in June, Gretna Theatre will produce Honky Tonk Angels, Sondheim on Sondheim, Matilda, The Musical, Around the World in 80 Days, and Elvis, My way.

The theatre will also host kid-friendly productions as part of its children’s theatre on Saturday mornings.

Check Out Mount Gretna

If you’re planning on visiting Mount Gretna, be sure to check out these spots!

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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