Timeline: The Pasadena Playhouse

A look at significant events in the history of the Pasadena Playhouse

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Some big-name Hollywood stars have passed through the little theatre on South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena. We take a look back at the Pasadena Playhouse's timeline.

Editor's Note: The archive video above is from October 2010.

1916: North Dakotan Gilmore Brown finds a home for his troupe, "The Gilmore Brown Players," in Pasadena. The Bismarck Tribune has a look at Brown's path to Pasadena.

1917: The Pasadena Playhouse is established.

1924: The cornerstone is placed at 39 South El Molino Avenue, marking the start of construction for the Spanish Colonial Revival building.

1925: The Playhouse opens.

1928: Brown establishes the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts. "Talkies" are the rage, and Hollywood stars have a place to learn to "speak." Twenty-four students are enrolled in the first class.

1929: "Lazarus Laughed" is among hundreds of plays produced at the Playhouse in the 1920s and 1930s.

1936: The Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts becomes an accredited College of Theatre Arts. It becomes known as Hollywood's talent factory.

1937: The Playhouse becomes the State Theatre of California by unanimous vote of the state Legislature.

1953: Founding of the Pasadena Playhouse Alumni and Associates.

1969: The Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts closes.

1969: Founder Gilbert Brown dies. Tough financial times follow. 

1975: The city buys the building and later transfers it to a real estate developer.

1975: The Pasadena Playhouse is added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1986: The Playhouse reopens after a major restoration.

1995: Theatre Corp. of America, the Playhouse's operating company, goes bankrupt.

2006: "Fences," starring Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, brings in audiences and cash. The good times do not last.

January 2010: The theatre announces it will close in February 2010 because of debt.

July 2010: The Pasadena Playhouse emerges from bankruptcy.

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