Founded in 1917, the Pasadena Playhouse, a 686-seat house, produces more than 300 performances per year and is designated the State Theatre of California. It is also listed on the National Registry of Historical Places. Founded by Gilmor Brown and housed in its present building since 1924, the Pasadena Playhouse has made an indelible mark on American theater. During its first four decades, the non-profit Pasadena Playhouse produced hundreds of plays, presented 477 world premieres and was the first American theater to present all 37 of Shakespeare's plays. The theater hosts a season of five plays.
The Pasadena Playhouse is committed to continue to be the premiere theatrical experience in Southern California showcasing the most exciting theatrical entertainment in the state and being an amazing forum for launching new work onto the national stage. The 2012 - 2013 season is highlighted by the World Premiere of Sleepless in Seattle - The Musical, based on the beloved movie, which is slated to then have a life on Broadway. Other Broadway productions that originated at The Pasadena Playhouse include: Sister Act, Baby It's You!, Looped and Mail. Unchain My Heart, The Ray Charles Musical, which premiered at The Playhouse, is scheduled to open on Broadway in the 2012-13 Season. The Pasadena Playhouse is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times 2012 Reader's Choice Award for "Best Dramatic Theatre," the Pasadena Star-News' "San Gabriel Valley's Best Live Theatre" 2012 Reader's Choice Award and the Pasadena Weekly 2012 Reader's Choice Award for "Best Live Theatre."