The Grand Opera House is the oldest theater in Dubuque and was built in 1889-1890 at an estimated cost of $65,000. Done in the Richardsonian architectural style, the original facade consists of St. Louis brick facing with Bayfield red sandstone trim. Dubuque's rich heritage is brought to life at the Grand Opera House as the renovated community theater offers musicals and comedies.
The opening night performance was on August 14, 1890, when 800 people came to see the famous opera "Carmen." They paid $5 for a ticket, a great deal of money in those days!
Some very famous actors and actresses have performed on the Grand stage over the years. Theater legends like George M. Cohen, Lillian Russell, Ethel Barrymore, and Sara Bernhardt all graced the early Grand's stage.
One of the most elaborate productions ever put on at the Grand Opera House was "Ben Hur". There were chariots and horses along with elephants on the stage.
Come visit us in Dubuque, Iowa