Playhouse Theatre, The
4816 Main Street
Houston , 77002
Application submitted to THC, Class of 2010, 10HR14; per Debra Blacklock-Sloan 8-16-2011 no formal dedication is planned; contact number for engagements is shown as 713-529-0015 via sign in window
Directions: Approximately 1/4 mile south of Hwy 59 overpass, on west side of Main Street at Arbor Place; marker to the right side, facing the building
Key Time Period: 1946 - Present
Marker Text: The Playhouse Theatre, built in 1950 at 4816 Main Street, was the brainchild of stage manager Joanna Albus and attorney William Rozan. It was one of the first theatres in the country specifically constructed for "theatre in the round," a concept that enables the audience to surround the players, who perform on a central stage. Architect Benjamin Greenwood’s unique design featured a circular space with 300 seats situated around a twenty-two foot circular stage with a revolving mechanism.
Albus and Rozan were Producers and Managing Directors, and also headed the investment group. The duo planned to operate the theatre year-round with performance runs tailored to public response. Performances included six weekly evening shows and matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Other uses included lectures, musicals and dance events on free evenings. The Playhouse opened on February 21, 1951 with a performance of the comedy Candlelight. For the next three years, the company continued to turn out high quality productions. Distinguished American playwright and director Tennessee Williams directed Donald Windham’s The Starless Air in 1953.
Despite good reviews, high overhead began to eat into profits, forcing Albus and Rozan to close the theatre in 1954. Several later owners kept it open as either a live performance venue or a movie house until 2004, when the National African American Museum was opened inside the space. The Playhouse earned international recognition and sparked an evolution of arena-type venues and other theatres in Houston, some of which still exist today. (2010)
Marker is property of the State of Texas
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 493 Q
GPS Coordinates: 29 43.857, 95 23.141
Precinct No: 1
Marker No: 16534