Pioneer Playhouse

Coordinates: 37°38′20″N 84°45′24″W / 37.63889°N 84.75667°W / 37.63889; -84.75667

The Pioneer Playhouse, located in Danville, Kentucky, is the oldest outdoor theater in the state of Kentucky.


The Pioneer Playhouse was built by Col. Eben C. Henson who established the outdoor theater in 1950. Notable alumni actors include John Travolta, Lee Majors, then known as Harvey Yeary, and Jim Varney. In 1962, Pioneer Playhouse became the first theater in the nation to be accorded the legal status of State Theater by act of Legislation.

Since Henson's death in 2004 the theater has been run by Henson's widow, Charlotte. Her daughter Holly serves as artistic director. Robby Henson, her son, directs at least one play at the theater every summer.

  • 2010
    • A Nice Family Gathering by Phil Olson
    • Miranda: The Catch of the Day (Adapted from Miranda, by Peter Blackmore)
    • The Dillinger Dilemma (World Premiere by Elizabeth Orndorff)
    • For Better by Eric Coble The production was directed by Katherine M. Carter
    • Run for Your Wife by Ray Cooney The production was directed by Lawrence Lesher
  • 2009
    • M is for Million by Jack Sharkey
    • The Infamous Ephraim by Holly Henson
    • Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig
    • Girl Crazy by Guy Bolton & John McGowan
    • Be My Baby by Ken Ludwig
  • 2008
    • Leading Ladies by Ken Ludwig
    • Mornings at Seven by Paul Osborn.
    • Death by Darkness by Elizabeth Orndorff. The production was directed by Lawrence Lesher.
    • Love, Sex and the IRS by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. The production was directed by Synge Maher.
    • Cookin' with Gus by Jim Brochu. The production was directed by Lawrence Lesher.
  • 2007
    • Babe, The Sheep Pig by David Wood. The production was directed by Robby Henson.
    • The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni. The production was directed by Lawrence Lesher.
    • The Odd Couple by Neil Simon. The production was directed by Lawrence Lesher.
    • A Jarful of Fireflies by Catherine Bush. The production was directed by Robby Henson.
    • Greater Tuna by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, & Ed Howard
  • 2006
    • My Sister Eileen by Joseph A. Fields & Jerome Chodorov
    • Rumors by Neil Simon
    • Shakespeare in Hollywood by Ken Ludwig
    • Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott
    • Social Security by Andrew Bergman
  • 2005
    • On the Razzle by Tom Stoppard
    • Squabbles by Marshall Karp
    • The Man Who Came to Dinner by Moss Hart & George S. Kaufman
    • The Last of Jane Austen by Shirl Hendryx
    • Death by Golf by Gregg Kreutz
  • 2004
    • Cactus Flower by Abe Burrows
    • Mr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood by Mark Saltzman
    • Biloxi Blues by Neil Simon
  • 2003
    • Impossible Marriage by Beth Henley
    • Proposals by Neil Simon
    • Sylvia by A.R. Gurney
  • 1995
    • Tom Jones
    • Harvey by Mary Chase
    • My Fat Friend by Charles Laurence

Building Activity

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