11 Best Performing Arts Venues in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Playhouse

Fodor's choice

For Broadway-style dramas, comedies, and musicals, attend a production at the Cape Playhouse, the country's oldest professional summer theater. In 1927 Raymond Moore, who had been working with a theatrical troupe in Provincetown, bought an 1838 Unitarian meetinghouse and converted it into a theater. The opening performance was The Guardsman, starring Basil Rathbone. Other stars who performed here in the early days—some in their professional stage debuts—include Bette Davis (who first worked here as an usher), Gregory Peck, Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, Humphrey Bogart, Tallulah Bankhead, and Henry Fonda, who appeared with his then-unknown 20-year-old daughter, Jane. Mainstage productions run from June to September and they offer children's programming in July and August. The playhouse is situated on the property of the Cape Cod Center for the Arts in Dennis Village. The campus also includes the Cape Cod Museum of Art, the Cape Cinema, and a restaurant.

Wellfleet Drive-In Theater

Fodor's choice

A classic Cape experience is the Wellfleet Drive-In Theater, located near the Eastham town line. Regulars spend the night in style: chairs, blankets, and picnic baskets. Films start at dusk nightly May–September, and there's also a standard indoor cinema with four screens, a miniature-golf course, and a bar and grill. It's also the home of the beloved Wellfleet Flea Market, held weekends late spring–mid-October.

Brewster Band Concerts

Sunday evenings by the bay (July 4th through Labor Day) are filled with the sounds of the town-band concerts, held in the gazebo on the grounds of Drummer Boy Park. Bring your beach chairs, blankets, and a picnic for a lovely evening outing. The park is about ½ mile west of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, on the western side of Brewster.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Cape Cod Melody Tent

In 1950, actress Gertrude Lawrence and her husband, producer-manager Richard Aldrich, opened the Cape Cod Melody Tent to showcase Broadway musicals and concerts. Today, it's the region's top venue for pop concerts and comedy shows. Performers who have played here in the round include the Indigo Girls, Lyle Lovett, ZZ Top, Diana Krall, and the Beach Boys. Comedians including Nate Bargatze and Amy Schumer are also headliners.

Cape Cod Repertory Theatre Co

Several impressive productions, from original works to the classics, are staged every year in this indoor Arts and Crafts–style theater set way back in the woods. There are popular outdoor shows for kids offered on weekday mornings during the summer, as well as puppet shows.

3299 Rte. 6A, Brewster, MA, 02631, USA
Performing Arts Details
Rate Includes: Closed Dec.–Mar.

Chatham Town-Band Concerts

Chatham's summer town-band concerts—a tradition that began in the 1940s—begin at 8 pm on Friday and draw thousands of onlookers. As many as 500 fox-trot on the roped-off dance floor, and there are special dances for children and sing-alongs for all.

Cultural Center of Cape Cod

This lively center plays host to a full schedule of art openings and exhibits, workshops, readings, various performances, and great live music.

Payomet Performing Arts Center of Truro

From mid-June through late September, the Payomet Performing Arts Center of Truro presents a wide range of concerts, plays, films, music, and classes inside a big tent at Cape Cod National Seashore. Past performers have included Tom Rush, the Cowboy Junkies, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. There's also a kids' circus camp, and Cirque by the Sea professional circus shows for families.

Post Office Cafe & Cabaret

Downstairs, it's a lively place for a meal (open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), with tables facing Commercial Street that offer great people-watching. Upstairs, you can expect even jauntier—and often playfully raunchy—entertainment in the nightly cabaret offerings and popular drag shows on weekends.

303 Commercial St., MA, 02657, USA
Performing Arts Details
Rate Includes: Closed mid.-Dec.--Mar.

The Provincetown Theater

This year-round venue provides excellent theater, showcasing many new works, as well as more unusual fare. In addition, they host dance performances, readings by playwrights, and workshops.

Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater

The well-regarded Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater continues its tradition, since 1985, of producing provocative, often edgy, world premieres of American plays, satires, farces, and black comedies in its mid-May–late-September season. In July and August there are productions aimed for kids, held under a white tent. From October to April, opera lovers can watch performances from the Met, live in HD.