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The National Theatre is the oldest playhouse in the United States and has been operating in the same location since 1835. Seating 1,676 people, the Federal-style theatre produces Broadway-level plays and musicals with nearly every great stage performer of the century performing there. Located just three blocks from the White House, the National Theatre is given the nickname "Theatre of Presidents" because every president of the country has attended performances at the playhouse. The theatre is not government funded despite its name, but is operated by a private, non-profit organization.

Founded on December 7, 1835 by William Corcoran along with other prominent citizens, the historic playhouse's name has been changed as management changed. Once it was called "Grover's National Theatre" and then later changed to "Grover's Theatre." The theatre's current building located in Pennsylvania Avenue was constructed in 1923.

The National Theatre is full of history, growing with the capital - way back from the muddy streets to the now ceremonial avenue. The theatre opened with the performance of "Man of the World" in 1835. Junius Brutus Booth starred in the National Theatre's first season and whose three sons also played at the theatre as well including John Wilkes Booth. The theatre's building was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt on the same site and reopened in 1850 with a performance of "The Swedish Nightingale." In 1982-9832, the theatre underwent a major renovation, replacing the original wing where the dressing rooms are located with a modern structure.

The theater is also famous for the hundreds of celebrated stars who have performed there - Helen Hayes, Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn, John Barrymore, Kevin Spacey, Joan Rivers, and Carol Channing just to name a few. Once, Winston Churchill spoke from the stage. The National Theatre today mostly hosts traveling Broadway musicals.
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