Waterville Opera House

(Frank) Good morning I’m Frank Chaffin, this is Around Kansas. You may recall that we were going to visit opera houses all around this great state of Kansas. We started at the Jayhawk Theatre which is in restoration. Well, a lot of opera houses around the state have been restored. Some of them didn’t really have to be restored and one of those is in Waterville. Now Waterville itself was established back in 1868 and they established it because obviously it was a water stop for the railroad that went through there. And it was also named after a town in Maine, also called Waterville. Well of course, back in the 1860’s, ’70s, ’80s that’s when of course, there were many opera houses that sprung up across the state of Kansas. And that was the form of entertainment that there was at that time. Well, the Waterville Opera House was one of the more spectacular ones. And let me digress here a little bit. My wife Linda and I were part of the Dale Easton Players and we were invited to play at the Waterville Opera House a couple of times. We did the “Drunkard” once and then we took one of our musicals called “The Shaboom Boy” there. And let me tell you when we were in town, we were treated like visiting rock stars or something. And it was a fun place to play. Now, let me tell you, the opera house itself, you walk up seven and a half steps into this opera house, it’s all nice and white and when you walk in you see a wonderful ceiling in there. It’s a flocked ceiling and a huge chandelier right in the middle. And then of course, all the seating and then a big stage area. Well, the acoustics in there are wonderful because the people that built the opera house made the corners rounded in there. So, the acoustics just kind of roll all around in there. The Waterville Opera House is not one that was transformed into a movie house, it has remained an opera house for over 100 years. It was built in 1904. Yea, long time ago. Well, during the summer there are several groups that still visit there. There are a lot of traveling groups, almost like it was back between the 1860s and the 1920s. Now again, I had an aunt that traveled with the Ted North Players and played the opera house many, many years ago, long before I was born. But anyway, also in Waterville across the street from the opera house is a restored hotel, the Waterville Hotel. And it’s wonderful to walk around in there and look at the rooms the way they were and then there’s a restaurant there that has a fantastic menu. So, if you go to Waterville for a show, be sure to go over to the hotel and see it too. And then have dinner in the wonderful restaurant. You can find out more about the performance schedule. You can Google them- the Waterville Opera House. And make sure it’s Waterville, Kansas, cause other wise you’ll get Waterville, Maine, and I don’t think they have an opera house. So, anyway be sure to stop at the Waterville Opera House and again, like I say we’re going to be looking at other opera houses all around this great state of Kansas. So, for now, this is Frank Chaffin saying join me on wrenradio.net for the oldies every Saturday from 11 to 2, oldies of the ’50s and ’60s, wrenradio.net. And until then I’ll see you somewhere Around Kansas.