Since 1950, Totem Pole Playhouse has provided professional summer theatre to residents and visitors of the Cumberland Valley of PA. Located just 17 miles west of Gettysburg and only two hours from Washington, DC & Baltimore, the theatre is known nationally for attracting high quality professional artists and for its wide variety of theatrical programming.
Now in its third location in beautiful Caledonia State Park, the theatre was first led by Artistic Director Karl Genus from 1951 – 53. For the next 30 years, the late William H. Putch guided the Playhouse into national prominence. Working closely with his wife, actress Jean Stapleton, he was responsible for 270 productions at Totem Pole, in addition to directing several national tours. From 1984 to 2008 Carl Schurr of Baltimore, MD has been Producing Artistic Director. Beginning with the 2009 season, DC based Ray Ficca will become the Artistic Director. In September of 2013 Rowan Joseph, with 35 + years of experience in theatre management & operations was hired as Producing Artistic Director. Rowan has a past relationship with former artistic directors Bill Putch, Carl Schurr & Ray Ficca. Begining in 2021 they welcomed James Nadeau as the Executive Director and David Hemsley Caldwell as the Artistic Director.
Totem Pole Playhouse is one of nine remaining professional summer theatres that maintain a resident company of actors. Interspersed with the regular faces have been a series of well-known artists, including Loretta Swit, Melissa Gilbert, Eric Szmanda, Ken Jenkins, Jill Larsen, Keir Dullea, Sada Thompson, John Ritter, Sandy Dennis, Harry Groener, Henry Strozier (Cranberry Bob), Curtis Armstrong and, of course, Jean Stapleton of TV’s All In The Family fame. Revered by members of the theatrical profession and theatre lovers all, Totem Pole continues to provide a summer of theatrical variety & will celebrate its 67th season in 2017.