Amazing History and Entertainment at New Jersey’s Oldest Theatre in Edison
John W. Griggs was elected New Jersey Governor, Grover Cleveland (New Jersey Native) was President, Oscar Hammerstein opened the Olympia Theatre, the first theatre to be built in New York City's Times Square district (Wikipedia) and the Edison Valley Playhouse was first established. Yes, this all happened nearly 130 years ago in 1895.
In this article, we are looking at the oldest theatres in New Jersey and from what I found the Edison Valley Playhouse, in Edison, dates back to the most historic with its founding 128 years ago in 1895. According to Best Things NJ, "The Edison Valley Playhouse was first established in 1895, and is a beautiful red building with striking historic architecture. It has served as a venue for live entertainment as well as performing arts education. It continues to show performances including frequent Coffee House Comedy variety shows."
Best Things NJ has an interesting article "The 10 Best Historic Theaters in New Jersey" and it not only highlights the Edison Valley Playhouse but also looks at nine other historic Jersey theatres. The article also shows two local theatres of note. Ocean County's oldest theatre, the historic Strand Theatre in Lakewood (1922), and in Monmouth County the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank (1926).
One other interesting finding I came across was the Civil War Drill Hall Theater. "Founded in 1919, the Players Guild of Leonia is a non-profit, resident acting company at the Civil War Drill Hall Theater (built-in 1859). We are New Jersey's oldest continuing community theater group (since 1919), and we are just five minutes from the George Washington Bridge and a short bus ride from Manhattan."
It appears the building was built in 1859, but wasn't home to a theatre group until 1919 so it falls somewhere in this historic timeline.
So there is a look at historic theatres. I have been to both the Strand and the Basie, but never the Edison Valley Playhouse. If you have visited the Edison Valley Playhouse, give us your thoughts and post your comments below.
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