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Did you know that the premiere performance of one of the longest-running professional theatre companies in Seattle was almost canceled?

It’s true! On January 12, 1950, Gene Keene presented First Central Staging’s production of Springtime for Harry. It was staged at the then newly remodeled Broadway Hall, where the renovations were not entirely paid off. That crisis was quickly averted, and First Central became Cirque Playhouse, which performed for thirty-one years in a wide variety of venues in Seattle. Because of declining attendance, it changed to a dinner theatre in 1971 and then, in 1981, ceased altogether. •

Illustration by Regina Volpi Baerwalde for City Arts.

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