Known for its comfortable, inviting space and great acoustics, the Publick Playhouse is one of the best performing arts venues in the greater Washington, DC area. Conveniently located less than half a mile from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and close to I-495, the Playhouse serves as a popular venue for music and modern dance, musical theater, historical drama, educational programs and monthly events for seniors.
First opened as the Cheverly Theatre in 1947, the Publick Playhouse was designed by the architectural firm of John Eberson. For many years the Cheverly, as it was known, was a neighborhood institution, the flagship of the Sidney Lust chain of movie houses. It had ornate sky scenes in the ceiling, plush seating for more than 900, and air conditioning.
Into the 1960s, the theater remained a popular cinematic destination but eventually fell into decline and closed. In 1975, The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission acquired the Cheverly and began a restoration of the former movie house. It reopened as the Publick Playhouse thirty years to the day that the Cheverly had its first grand opening in 1947. Additional renovations were undertaken in 1984 and 2006 and the theatre continues to serve as a venue for the performing arts, concerts, dance, theater and community events. Although considerably altered from its original appearance, the theatre is one of the two surviving Art Deco theatres in Prince George’s County.