Somerset Theatre

296 Buffinton Street,
Somerset, MA 02726

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

| Street View

Information on this former movie theatre in Somerset, Massachusetts would be appreciated.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 24, 2005 at 12:52 am

Here is a photo of the former Somerset Theatre and former furniture store.

DickMorgan
DickMorgan on July 30, 2005 at 11:37 pm

My family and I moved to Somerset from Fall River back in June of 1957. I remember visting this theater just once in December of 1957 when my parish (St. Patrick’s of Somerset) had rented the facility for an xmas party for the children of the parish. I think we were shown a number of cartoons and no feature film; i only rememeber a Sylvester and Tweety Bird cartoon from that night, nothing else. I do remember waiting outside for a crowd to exit the theater as a regular feature had just ended. This must have been the last days of this threater for my only other memory was of it being closed and as a child wishing it was open so we didnt have to go all the way into Fall River to see a movie.

In regard to the ghp3719 entry on Oct 14, 2004 I have to take exception to this theater’s history. I believe the Somerset Playhouse was contructed much earlier than the early 1950s. And I think it was constructed as both a Playhouse and a Movie Theater, with the idea that in the Summer, plays would be shown and in the Winter it would switch to movie fare. The only reason I say this is that I had a large collection of Playbills and theater progams at one time (which later I sold on e-bay). One of these “programs” was a small 12-16 page booklet for a production at the Somerset Playhouse staring Gertrude Lawrence. Unfortunatly I don’t have the name of the play nor do I have the dates. But I do recall my Mom talking about plays and stars she had seen there.

Prior to this theater becoming a furniture store, the Town of Somerset had looked at this facility and considered to convert into a new library for the town before they decided on a new facility which is located just north on County St(route 138).

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 28, 2006 at 12:05 am

The Somerset Playhouse was described in its promotion as “America’s Most Beautiful Summer Theatre.” A list I found of attractions for the 1950-1952 seasons included plays with the following performers: Kay Francis in Goodbye My Fancy, Edward Arnold in Apple of His Eye, Zasu Pitts in Post Road and later Ramshackle Inn, Franchot Tone, Barbara Payton and Margaret Lindsay in The Second Man, Melvyn Douglas and Signe Hasso in Sacred and Profane, John Garfield in Golden Boy, Constance Bennett in Skylark, Eve Arden in Here Today, Burgess Meredith in The Silver Whistle, Miriam Hopkins in Told to the Children, Bert Lahr in Burlesque, Veronica Lake and Jackie Cooper in Remains to be Seen, Joan Blondell in Come Back, Little Sheba, June Havoc in Rain, Mae West in Come On Up, Ring Twice.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 28, 2006 at 12:44 am

Somerset Playhouse anecdotes:

In a 1983 article in the Fall River Herald (August 20), the manager wrote of this theatre.

“At the Somerset Playhouse, the boiler room was located under the stage. The boiler room itself was built over a spring, which necessitated a pump working all the time. When the pump would go into action, it would make a noisy click quite audible to the performers on stage. One week we had a star whose image was angelic and demure, just sugary sweetness itself. Off stage she was just the opposite, a tough cookie from the word go, who possessed a colorful vocabulary laced with four-letter words.

“One night during a performance, the pump clicked into operation. Its noise took Miss Goody Two Shoes by surprise. She let out with a loud, ‘What the…was that?’ A vulgarism completely out of character with her projected pose of innocence. The expression stunned the audience into silence. They didn’t even laugh, it took them so much by surprise. That outburst ruined the evening’s proceedings. The audience just wouldn’t buy her brand of goodness after that gaffe.

“The lavatories at the Somerset were located almost on the stage. Actors had to be warned not to use them during a performance, because the flush could be heard in the audience. This situation prompted one star to comment, ‘This is the only theatre in the United States where the bathrooms are on the stage.’ Only she expressed it in more pungent terms.

“The air conditioning at Somerset could not be used during a performance as the cooling unit was also in the boiler room, and when operating, the actors could not hear each other talk. And the boiler room did not have an inside entrance, just an outside one.”

lbcreations
lbcreations on February 14, 2007 at 6:59 am

There is a small website which I will be hoping to update even further with more information. I am going to be speaking with the woman who was associated with the theatre.. I think her position was some kind of administrative assistant. here is the link to the site: http://www.somersetplayhouse.com

alancampbell
alancampbell on July 12, 2009 at 4:11 pm

I’ve tried to e-mail the Somerset Playhouse site but can’t seem to get through.

I was a staff member of the theatre during the summer of 1951 and can provide information on that season if anyone’s interested.

Mr. DeLuca’s notes on the theatre are quite accurate.

I can be reached at

Alan Campbell

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 12, 2010 at 7:19 am

from Boxoffice Magazine, October 14, 1950, page 97:

“Motion pictures, with program changes three times weekly, on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, are being shown at Nathan Yamins' Somerset Playhouse, which housed stock companies during the summer. Doors open at 7 P.M. and the showing starts at 7:30. Admissions are: Adults, 42 cents, plus 8 cents tax; children 17 cents, plus 3 cents tax. Saturday afternoon matinees are held at 2 p.m. Scarley Lady chinaware was given to woman patrons at the opening. The offer was repeated later. James Knight, who managed both the Strand and Embassy [in Fall River] and who has been acting as relief manager since the closing of the Embassy, is the playhouse’s new manager. Phyllis G. Davis is in the boxoffice.”

alancampbell
alancampbell on June 13, 2010 at 8:10 am

I agree with Mr. Morgan about the theatre’s construction. I believe the Playhouse was built in the mid to late-40s.
However, so far as I know, Gertrude Lawrence did not appear at the Somerset Playhouse. I was a member of the cast when Paula Lawrence did a musical there in the summer of 1951 “A Connecticut Yankee."
Another interesting musical presented that summer that could be added to Mr. DeLuca’s list had a young Bob Fosse as the lead in "Pal Joey” opposite veteran movie actress Carol Bruce. This and other musicals (“Brigadoon,” etc.) were packaged for the summer circuit by Gus Schirmer, Jr.

jaboschen
jaboschen on March 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Unfortunately Google Maps indicates that the site now houses a Walgreens. :–(

alancampbell
alancampbell on April 5, 2013 at 5:33 am

Nothing left now except the echoes of distant memories.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater