The Red Cloud Opera House, 1885, stood for many years as the jewel in Main Street's crown. Here Blind Boone played, William Jennings Bryan spoke, and it was from this stage that Willa Cather graduated in 1890 and delivered her eloquent oration, "Superstition vs. Investigation". Life, culture, and the world beyond came to young Willa Cather on this very stage, and later, the Opera House became a significant part of her fiction in works such as The Song of the Lark, My Antonia, and Lucy Gayheart. One can still read the name of Willa's brother, Douglas, and others scrawled on the stage walls.
The Opera House facility is now home to the Willa Cather Foundation offices, gallery, bookstore, and auditorium. The newly restored Red Cloud Opera House auditorium transports visitors back in time to set the mood, scene, and tone of the 1880s, when Willa Cather and her friends eagerly anticipated the arrival of traveling productions such as The Bohemian Girl and The Mikado. As Cather herself put it, "Only real people speaking the lines can give us that feeling of living along with them, of participating in their existence."
Today, the Red Cloud Opera House hosts numerous performances each year. The diverse schedule consists of theatrical plays, concerts, humanities presentations, gallery exhibits, and much more. From professional entertainers to community theatre, the Opera House has something for everyone.
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