Dennis is home of the Cape Playhouse, one of the best-known summer-stock theatres in the eastern United States.
“The theater itself has barely been altered during its 83-year existence. On its inauguration day, July 4, 1927, heavy rains leaked through the roof, forcing the audience to huddle under umbrellas at a performance of The Guardsman, starring Basil Rathbone. ‘That wouldn’t happen today,’ says artistic director Evans Haile, although he does admit that some pinhole-size roof punctures do exist.
“Bette Davis began her career here as an usher, and Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda and Gregory Peck all honed their skills here before taking Hollywood by storm. Already a superstar in the 1950s, Tallulah Bankhead arrived, pet leopards in tow, for her Dennis engagements. Actress Shirley Booth, star of the 1960s sitcom “Hazel,” performed here often late in her career, during the 1970s; she bequeathed to the playhouse her 1953 Oscar (for best actress in the role of Lola Delaney in Come Back, Little Sheba).”
--Jonathan Kandell, Smithsonian magazine, April 2005