The Firehouse Presents Firehouse Follies, “A Night of Historic Entertainment”
If you lived in Wabash County
120 years ago, what would you do for fun?
Before movies, television, and U Tube, you might come to the local opera
house for entertainment and edification.
To revive this experience, The Firehouse, in partnership with the
The Firehouse Follies is a unique production that you will never see anywhere else. Acts will be based on performances actually held at the North Manchester Opera House years ago, but with a contemporary feel. Jim Smith will recite “Casey at the Bat.” Mac McKinley will present James Whitcomb Riley poems--the beloved Hoosier poet actually appeared at the NM Opera House several times. There will be a dog act, inspired by the fact that live blood hounds were often used in productions of the popular Uncle Tom’s Cabin play in the 19th century. Other acts include folk music of the era, a ukelele band, Ed “Strangler” Lewis the Wrestler, and a gospel choir. The audience will get to boo the villain and sigh over the heroine in “Dolly’s Dilemma or Who Will Pay the Money for the Mortgage on the Farm?,” a contemporary melodrama written by Charles and Dagny Boebel. Dave Lawrenz will serve as emcee.
Live entertainment is a great
way for the community to come together, and very different from the feel of
movies, television, DVD or computers.
If you have attended any of the presentations at the Firehouse, you know
how entertaining they can be. You
also know that
Tickets cost $5.00 and are
available starting June 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the Center for
The acts described here give a
flavor of the many types of entertainment the Opera House used to present 100 to
120 years ago. Opera houses were by
no means just venues for Grand Opera and classical music.
During its heyday, the NM Opera House hosted everything from high school
graduations to basketball games, touring Shakespeare companies, musical
performances, lecturers, comedians, dinner dances and even roller skating.
It was the biggest gathering space in the community before the high
school and college built their own gymnasiums and auditoriums.
The Opera House served
The Firehouse Follies is one
of many events planned to celebrate “The Year of the Opera Curtain” at the
Center for History. The Center
recently restored a rare 1909-1910 opera curtain, which is on display at the
museum. It has also commissioned a
contemporary opera curtain featuring current