"ENCORE!" EXPLORES THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OF WISCONSIN OPERA HOUSES AND THE ARTISTIC COMMUNITIES SURROUNDING THEM
The Wisconsin Historical Society Press announces the release of "Encore!: The Renaissance of Wisconsin Opera Houses" (ISBN: 978-0-87020-430-2; $29.95) by Brian Leahy Doyle with photographs by Mark Fay. Doyle chronicles the histories of ten Wisconsin opera houses and theaters, from their construction to their heydays as live performance spaces and through the periods when many of these stages went dark.
"Brian Leahy Doyle walks us through the stage doors of opera houses throughout our state, takes us behind their curtains, onto their stages, into their houses, and down to their dressing rooms. He also takes us into the lives of the men and women who designed and built these beautiful theaters, and the communities that enjoyed them. 'Encore!' is full of the wonder and respect these 'Grand Old Ladies' deserve, and a fascinating account of the theatrical history of our state." —James DeVita, American Players Theatre
A remarkable number of Wisconsin towns and cities were home to an opera house in the late 1800s and early 1900s, including Shullsburg, Oshkosh, Menomonie, Milwaukee, Stoughton, Independence, Green Lake, Mineral Point, Baraboo, and Viroqua. These theatres played host to some of the biggest names in theater and vaudeville – luminaries such as Marion Anderson, the Barrymores, Sarah Bernhard, and Enrico Caruso - but also served as spaces for community events. As Brian Leahy Doyle notes, the Copeland Opera House in his hometown of Shullsburg "occasionally doubled as a roller-skating rink."
With the advent of other forms of popular entertainment such as movies, radio, and television, many of these opera houses and theaters fell into disrepair. Faced with losing their community's opera house, local citizens have worked to restore the architectural gems featured in this book. All but one of the theaters featured is again staging performances.
Mark Fay's photographs capture the essence of these structures, from the austerely handsome to the magnificently ornate opera houses.
Media: For review copies of the book, author or book photos, or book event information, please contact Melanie Roth, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 816 State St., Madison, Wis. 53706; (608) 264-6465; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wisconsin Historical Society Press, publishing the best of Wisconsin history and culture, since 1855