About Boston's Theater District

The Boston Theater District sustains a long, eventful history. Until legalization in 1792, theaters were banned in Boston by the modest, Puritan community. Within two years of the ban ending, Boston's first playhouse was built by Charles Bulfinch. For the next century, prosperity of the performing arts flourished, and numerous theaters rose up along the streets of Washington and Tremont. By 1900, the Boston Theater District boasted 30 grand theaters. However, after the turn of the century, the dawning of films and movies caused a steady decline in theatrical performances. In the past twenty years, a renewed appreciation for the performing arts has once again revived the popularity of the district. Today, the Boston Theater District boasts around 50 distinguished playhouses, concert halls and movie palaces. Below are some of the most notable venues in the Boston Theater District.

Charles Playhouse
Before it was established as a theater in 1958, the site of the Charles Playhouse experienced a long, interesting history. First built as a church and then later used as a synagogue in the 1800s, the building later served as a speakeasy during the Prohibition era and then as a trendy nightclub following World War II. Today, the Charles Playhouse shines as one of the most visited theaters in Boston, featuring two of the city's longest running performances, Shear Madness and the Blue Man Group. Shear Madness is America's longest running play that presents a comical murder mystery. Known for their blue-painted faces, the award winning Blue Man Group is an organization of entertainers who offer fabulous comedy and musical concert shows.

Colonial Theater
Housed in a gorgeous Victorian building, the Colonial Theater is Boston's oldest theater still in continuous operation. Since its first performance of Ben-Hur in 1900, the theater continues to present numerous well known Broadway and pre-Broadway shows within its cozy, elegant atmosphere.

Shubert Theater
Established in 1910, the Shubert Theater is an esteemed venue listed among the National Register of Historic Places. Since 2006, the Shubert Theater is combined with its neighboring Wang Theater as part of the Citi Performing Arts Center. The Shubert Theater is favored for its quality plays, comfortable seating and excellent acoustics.

Wang Theater
Opened in 1925, the Wang Theater is a historical Boston landmark. Presenting a host of top rated shows, the theater offers performances of drama, musical, dance, opera, film and comedy in an elegant interior.

Boston Symphony Hall
Constructed in 1900, the Boston Symphony Hall is regarded as one of the finest concert halls in both the United States and the world. Built in attractive Renaissance architecture and adorned with numerous replicas of famous Roman and Greek statues, the concert hall is a spectacular Boston attraction. Guests at the concert hall are treated to excellent performances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Cutler Majestic Theater
Built in 1903 and restored by Emerson College in the 1980s, the Cutler Majestic Theater serves as a performing arts center for the Boston community and Emerson College. Before stepping through the door, guests will admire the impressive architecture of the theater's building. Inside the splendid interior, guests will enjoy a variety of theatrical shows as well as concerts by the Opera Boston.

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