Horse Eats Hat opened in New York City on September 26, 1936, at Maxine Elliott’s Theatre. The play was performed by Theatre Unit 891, which was headed by John Houseman and had some of the finest nascent talent in all of the theatrical arts. The production was directed by Orson Welles who also played one of the major roles. Virgil Thompson (1896–1989), who orchestrated the score written by Paul Bowles, was the inspiration for the decision to tackle the classic 1851 Parisian farce. Nat Karson (ca. 1908–1954) designed the vivid costumes and sets, and Abe Feder and Jean Rosenthal (1912–1969) did the lighting design. The opening night of the play is remembered as one of the most outrageous evenings in New York theater history, featuring the collapse of the stage set’s chandelier as Joseph Cotton (1905–1994) swung from it, followed by the collapse of the stage curtain.