The lecture, Once upon a Time at the Opera House, with author James Berton Harris will address the importance of opera houses to the cultural and community life in nonmetropolitan areas of the country during the Golden Age of Opera Houses (1865-1915). The primary focus will be on three of the over one hundred facilities that Michigan hosted during that period: the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, the Calumet Theatre, and the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee. As both the civic and arts center for the community, they were a venue for community meetings, political rallies, concerts, lectures, and theatrical entertainment. Whereas almost every town in the state once had a facility referred to as an opera house, few remain and, of those that do, few are open for business. However, the opera houses in Coldwater, Calumet, and Manistee are still in operation and are still serving their communities as they have for over a hundred years.
J. B. (James Berton) Harris is the author of a 2019 Michigan History Award winning book, Once upon a Time at the Opera House: Drama at Three Historic Michigan Theatres. Presently, he is eagerly awaiting the publication of his most recent literary endeavor, Six Degrees of Betty Grable: A Musical Soap Opera with no Music and just a little Soap.
This special event will also be streamed on Facebook Live, which can be viewed from the library’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Tecumseh-District-Library-192148050127/.