Theaters of the Progressive Era
Theaters of the Progressive Era – Four Opera Houses in the Heartland of America
ISBN 978-3-86821-095-8, 250 S., 104 Abb., € 24,00 (CD-ROM, 2008)
(Cultural Studies in the Heartland of America, Bd. 12)
This work portrays four opera houses which were built in the heartland of America during the Progressive Era. At that time, nearly every county seat had constructed its own opera house, often for two reasons: first, the flourishing towns were in need of community centers, and the opera houses were built to meet this need. Second, the opera houses were also intended to bring culture even to remote areas. Today, very few of these Victorian opera houses still stand, and only a fraction of them have been renovated. Nowadays, these houses play a central role in the cultural life of their communities, and are to be preserved as unique historical treasures for the future. In this work, a detailed elaboration on historical, social, architectural, and cultural aspects of four opera houses typical for the Progressive Era is provided. Three of them are located in the state of Michigan. They are the Traverse City Opera House, the Ramsdell Theater in Manistee, and the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts in Muskegon. The fourth house considered in the following is the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, Indiana.