Oakdale Theatre History:

Built on an alfalfa field in 1954 by original founder Ben Segal, the original Oakdale was part of the "theatre-in-the-round" craze that saw many circular stages open in various parts of the Northeast. A family owned business for decades, it began primarily as a summer stock venue, hosting many of the musicals of the day: 'Kiss Me Kate', 'South Pacific', 'Oklahoma' to mention a few, with many of Broadways brightest stars like John Raitt, Danny Kaye, James Garner and Ethel Merman. In the 60s, Oakdale evolved into a summer concert venue where the likes of Harry Belafonte, Paul Anka, Steve & Eydie, Tom Jones, and more played to the open air crowds every summer, sometimes for 2 weeks at a time! The landscape changed in the late 60s and Oakdale rocked and rolled with Cream, The Who, The Doors and even Led Zeppelin, all playing live on the spinning stage.

The 60s and early 70s was the heyday for Oakdale. The wood dome which now acts as the lobby was erected in 1972 and the seating capacity was increased from 1700 to 3200. The biggest entertainers of the day made Oakdale a must play on their summer rosters. Keep in mind: this was prior to the arenas that opened in Hartford and New Haven, and decades before casinos! Staples every summer were Englebert Humperdinck, Liberace, The Carpenters, Dolly Parton and comedians like Don Rickles and Rich Little.

In the 80s and 90s, the 'theatre in the round' was facing stiff competition in the entertainment industry. Many of the current performers were not particularly fond of a spinning stage, and it was getting more and more difficult to bring Connecticut audiences their favorite artists. Stars were demanding paydays that only larger venues could afford. Oakdale marched on and began presenting more country artists, a genre that, at the time, was not arena-friendly. Oakdale was the place where the Nutmeg State got its first taste of an emerging force in music as it became home to The Judds, Reba McEntire, Clint Black, Randy Travis, and Alan Jackson.

In 1996, the current Oakdale Theatre was built, transforming the old in-the-round space into the gracious lobby and adding a 4600-seat theatre with a proscenium stage that would now rival any entertainment center in the Northeast. Country duo Brooks & Dunn opened the then-new theatre on July 7, 1996.

With the new shape came the big stars: Sting, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Robin Williams, Coldplay, Josh Groban, Jerry Seinfeld; all of whom played the magnificent new theatre to sold out crowds. The new theatre also afforded Oakdale to present Broadway sized shows as the new stage was able to hold the large sets. 'Riverdance', '42nd St', 'Grease', 'The Producers', 'Seussical', 'Movin Out' and more were all part of the Broadway Series that ran for 10 years.

Family programming has always been a large part of the Oakdale history. The Wednesday matinee childrens shows introduced many of Connecticuts youngest residents to their first theatrical production. Since then, Barney, The Wiggles, Dora the Explorer, The Backyardigans and Rugrats all have enjoyed wild success with kids and families from all over the state.

Legendary CT promoter Jim Koplik joined the Oakdale family in 1998, as we became part of Live Nation, the largest entertainment company in the world. In recent years, Maroon 5 and John Mayer have started their careers here, and Britney Spears headlined on her first tour in 1999. Drake, the Jonas Brothers, Diana Krall, Kathy Griffin, Avenged Sevenfold, and Keith Urban have all played to sold-out crowds in the past few years.

From Danny Kaye to Don Rickles, Barney to Britney, and The Doors to Drake, the old alfalfa field that turned into one of the regions premier concert venues has seen its share of stars. The next time history is made at Oakdale, will you be there?

95 South Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 06492 ‎
Tel: 203.265.1501
Fax: 203.284.1816

Coming from the north or south:
  • Traveling North on I-95, proceed to New Haven, take exit 48 for I-91.
  • From I-91 North or South take exit 13.
  • At end of ramp take left and get in far right lane.
  • At first traffic light take right onto Toelles Road.
  • Follow to end and take a right onto Hartford Turnpike Road.
  • We are 1.5 miles on the left.
  • From the Merritt Parkway (CT-15) North or South take exit 64.
  • At the end of the ramp, take a left onto Hartford Turnpike Road.
  • We are one mile up on the right. If you're traveling North or South on route 10, proceed to Cheshire.
  • Turn onto Cook Hill Road traveling east. The route 10/Cook Hill Road intersection is located near the Cheshire Nurseries.
  • Follow Cook Hill to the end.
  • Take right onto Hartford Turnpike.
  • We are 200 yards up on the right.

Coming from the east or west:
  • Traveling East or West on I-84 take exit 27 for I-691 East.
  • From I-691 take exit 10 for route 15 South - Merritt Parkway.
  • Take exit 64.
  • At end of ramp take a left onto Hartford Turnpike.
  • We are one mile on the right.

All parking is on site and is included in the price of your ticket. Premier Parking is located in the lot closest to the main entrance of the facility for an additional charge and may be purchased in advance at all points of sale. Premier Parking may also be purchased just prior to show time at the entrance to the lot. Sales are cash only and are subject to availability.

Parking for the disabled is located in the spaces directly in front of the theater for no additional charge and is available to patrons who possess a handicapped parking sticker, hang tag or license plate.

Thank you for your interest in Oakdale Theatre!

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