The arts in Philadelphia have been renowned for years. The city is the birthplace for not only some of the greatest visual arts, but also the home of the very first theater in the nation. Many consider the Philadelphia theater scene to be a hub for new plays that move on to become major Broadway plays. We have gathered a list of the best theaters in Philadelphia putting on some of the most innovative plays and classic musical theater you will see in years.

Arden Theatre
40 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-1122
www.ardentheatre.org

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The Arden Theatre is a mere child compare to some of the theatres found in Philadelphia, but it is one of the most innovative and creative. The theater was founded in 1988 in a studio theater that sat 70. In 1995, Arden theatre Company moved into a 50,000 square foot building in the Olde City District of Philadelphia. After renovations, the theater sat 360 in its mainstage theater, and 175 in its studio theater. Arden produces a variety of stories in a wide range of styles from classic to contemporary and musical to dramatic.

Kimmel Center of Performing Arts
300 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 670-2300
www.kimmelcenter.org

The Kimmel Center first came together in 1996, when The Philadelphia Orchestra needed a home and then Mayor Ed Rendell was looking to create a venue for Philadelphia’s most prestigious performing arts companies and touring companies to share their art. The Orchestra agreed to merge the two ideas on property they acquired at Broad and Spruce Streets, and thus a new organization was created called the Regional Performing Arts Center. The Kimmel Center, Inc has three major venues: The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which is home to Verizon Hall, a 2500 seat concert hall; The Perelman Theatre, which is a 650 seat recital theater; and SEI Innovation Studio, which is a 2688 square foot black box theater. Other theaters under the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts umbrella include Academy of Music and the Merriam Theatre.

Walnut Street Theatre
825 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 574-3550
www.walnutstreettheatre.org

The oldest theater in America is right here in Philadelphia. The Walnut Street Theatre turned 200 in 2009 and is still in the same spot at Ninth and Walnut Street in center city. The theater is a national historic landmark that has entertained Philadelphia for over two centuries. The doors opened at the famous theater on February 2, 1809. It first started out as an equestrian circus, but by 1812, the dirt ring was replaced with a stage and a theater was born. The first play ever performed in at the Walnut Street Theatre had President Thomas Jefferson in attendance. The very first curtain call happened at the theater. Walnut Street Theatre went through many renovations over the years, including a new stage which hosted many musical comedies.

Suzanne Roberts Theatre
480 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 985-0420
www.philadelphiatheatrecompany.org

The Philadelphia Theatre Company calls the Suzanne Roberts Theatre home and has done so since October 2007. The theater is named after Suzanne Roberts, host of the TV show, “Seeking Solutions with Suzanne,” found on CN8 and CNN Headline News. She is the wife of Ralph J Roberts, the founder of Comcast. Philadelphia Theatre Company produces creative contemporary works that are focused on the American experience. It celebrates young artists and new American plays and musicals. Over 50 percent of the theatre company’s premieres have moved onto Broadway making Philadelphia a leader in new play development.

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Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.