If You Can Play Scranton
In its theatrical heyday, at the turn of the 20th century, Scranton was a proving ground for performers and productions trying to get to New York City. Performers such as Harry Houdini, W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, the Marx Brothers, Mae West, and Fred Astaire have all graced Scranton’s stages. The love of theater and appreciation for artists is alive and well to this day. Visit our historic theaters and you can learn about the amazing performers who got their start here and see the next generation of entertainers showcase their talents. As the old saying goes, “If you can play Scranton, you can play anywhere”.
This tour is designed for the month of June due to the inclusion of the Scranton Shakespeare Festival which begins in June, and Broadway in Scranton which typically ends in June. If you need a different month, please contact the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau to customize an itinerary.
• DAY ONE •
Touted as the only building devoted to Harry Houdini in the world, the Houdini Museum, located in Scranton, PA, is a rare treat for young and old alike! Year-round entertainment features a movie, a guided tour of the 150-year-old historic building, topped off by an hour-long, fun-filled stage magic show with professional magicians and live animals.
Did you know Harry Houdini lived in Scranton, PA for about 3 years? Have your group keep a lookout for the props he created and used during his time in Scranton! Groups of 50-60 can fit comfortably in the museum.
A typical day at the museum is about 3 hours, but if you are short on time, you can ask the owners to provide a condensed tour and magic show to suit your schedule. Be sure to plan well in advance for this customization.
The Ritz Theater
An iconic display of uncompromising beauty with historical grandeur, your group will feel as glamorous as the Hollywood icons and performers who have graced the stage when you visit The Ritz Theater. Guests can enjoy a private tour of the theater and learn the history of the famous acts that entertained the city of Scranton, such as Harry Houdini, W.C. Fields, and Will Rogers. After the tour, the group can relax with a cocktail, a seated or buffet dinner, and a customized theatrical or musical act.
Plan for a 1-hour tour of the theater prior to dinner.
The Directors will either customize a performance for your group or provide a list of Broadway performances for you to choose from. They can also show movies of your choice on their 43x20, high-definition projection screen. The theater will provide menu, bar, and appetizer options to customize based on your budget.
• DAY TWO •
LACKAWANNA HISTORICAL SOCIETY WALKING TOUR
Through historical walking tours, The Lackawanna Historical Society will share its wealth of knowledge of the region and its people. Tour downtown Scranton to discover more about the Vaudeville and entertainment scene during the early 1900s. Stop by the Danseur de Corde (Rope Dancer) mural by Joel Carson Jones on Penn Ave which pays tribute to this part of our legacy. It creates a 3D optical illusion that makes the 3-story tall dancer appear to be dancing a tight rope.
Next stop, a private tour, prior to your evening show, at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple. This architectural wonder in the Gothic District of Scranton was designed by the same architect as Rockefeller Center, Raymond Hood. The building was built during the Great Depression by the Masons and cost $2 million dollars.
The Lackawanna Historical Society will accommodate groups who prefer to stay on the bus due to walking difficulties when touring through the city.
Dinner out on the town
Attention foodies! One of Lackawanna County’s greatest strengths is the wide variety of delicious and diverse food. You will find homemade options from around the world at our veritable potpourri of family-owned restaurants. From traditional Italian delicacies and world-famous pizza to gourmet ramen, and everything in between, your taste buds will be begging you to come back for more. Oh, and save room for dessert!
Ask the Visitors Bureau for a list of their group-friendly restaurants.
For the more adventurous groups, try a dine around! The Visitors Bureau can create a dine around itinerary that will fit your budget, taste buds, and schedule. Each restaurant provides small plate options that give a sampling of what they offer on their traditional menu.
Broadway in Scranton
The Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania (Broadway in Scranton) was developed in 1959 by Benno and Gertrude Levy, two lovers of the theatre who wanted to share this form of art with their community. Today, Broadway in Scranton welcomes many pre and post-Broadway Tours and countless stars of stage and screen to perform at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple. Visitors can enjoy performances such as Waitress, Beautiful: The Carole King Story, STOMP, Kinky Boots, Phantom of the Opera and so many more!
Group pricing is available through Broadway in Scranton. The productions are typically announced in the summer; they usually start in October and run through June. Want to visit during the holiday season? Check the season schedule for Broadway in Scranton’s holiday performance!
• DAY THREE •
Scranton Shakespeare Festival
Since its start in 2011, the Scranton Shakespeare Festival has grown each year providing a program with an emphasis on Shakespearean plays and a variety of contemporary plays, musicals, and even immersive productions such as Damn Yankees at PNC Field. Experience the world of Shakespeare by international and nationally acclaimed performers, right here in Lackawanna County!
The venue for the Festival changes every year. If it is outdoors, the company will provide chairs for your group if notified well in advance. Indoor and outdoor venues must follow ADA compliances, ensuring everyone in your group can enjoy the performances.
The productions, dates, and venue are typically announced mid-January.
First Friday Scranton art walks are held on the first Friday of each month at galleries and businesses around Downtown Scranton. Paintings, photography, sculpture, music, performance art, and much more await you as you stroll the historic streets of the Electric City!
The First Friday map can be found on their website- the venues change each month.
Art pieces are available for purchase.
Step back in time for some retro fun at the Circle Drive-In! This drive-in theater is the 2nd longest-running drive-in in America and boasts two giant outdoor screens, one being the largest in the state of Pennsylvania. The theater operates from Spring to Fall and shows first-run features and your favorite classics. While the screens have been updated with modern technology, visitors can go back to the 1950s in their concession shop. Grab the classic popcorn and candy or enjoy a tasty meal while admiring the vintage movie posters, checkered floor, and period concession stand.
Bus groups are welcome! The parking lot can fit 1,000 cars with a special area designated for bus groups. Folks will have chairs provided for them once they step off the bus. Ticket and concession packages are available for groups.
The theater is on a steep hill, make sure your group wears warm clothing for the chillier evenings. Make sure to arrive early so folks can get their snacks and see a special welcome greeting on the big screen!
Plan Your Visit Now!