Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Woodstock Opera House

The Woodstock Opera House dates from 1889, when it was built as a multipurpose building: library, court, council room, fire department and second-floor auditorium for the city of Woodstock. The venue's web site says that Elgin-based architect Smith Hoag added "early American, Midwestern, Gothic and even Moorish elements. The interior is modeled after the showboats of the time, with dimensions and decorations that imitate many of those grand floating theaters."

The theater has hosted entertainment of various kinds since 1890, including an early '30s summer stock theater that included a very young Orson Welles. "In 1947 a group of citizens formed and supported the Woodstock Players," the web site continues. "For several years the Players provided acting experience for students graduating from the Goodman School. Now-famous personalities Paul Newman, Tom Bosley, Betsy Palmer, Geraldine Page, Shelley Berman and Lois Nettleton were among them."

I had to look up some of those actors, such as the late Lois Nettleton. (Who moved on to television, including appearances on Captain Video.) About a month ago, I noticed that Al Stewart would be back at the Woodstock Opera House again. Inconveniently timed, since I knew I'd be busy that week, but I decided to go. He's not getting any younger, and neither am I.

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