Hittin’ The Town: Hitting a high note at the Croswell Opera House
The Croswell is the oldest opera house in Michigan.
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A theater in Lenawee County has stood the test of time since the mid-1800s. The Croswell Opera House continues to entertain audiences from all over the region. It’s been part of the landscape in Adrian since 1866. And it truly has been a community-wide effort to make sure it is alive and well more than 150 years later.
Erik Gable is the Marketing Director. He says the Croswell is the oldest theater in Michigan and one of the oldest continually operating theaters in the country. “This theater is almost as old as the city of Adrian itself.”
To put things in perspective, The Civil War was underway when construction began on it. “I think preserving a theater like this gives you a sense of community history and everything it’s been through.”
And all these years later, history is alive and well inside these walls. “Sometimes when you walk in here at the end of the day, and it’s empty, you can stand here and feel the weight of all that’s happened here in the last 156 years. It’s awe-inspiring.”
Important figures in American history have graced the stage. “In Michigan’s early days, Adrian was one of the biggest cities in the state. The number of people who came here to speak and perform at this theater is incredible. The list includes Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and John Philip Sousa.”
The community has supported the theater from the start. That support saved this treasure. “There was a time in the 1960s and it could have been torn down and turned into a parking lot, but the community rallied behind the building and said we’re not going to let that happen.”
Before it was The Croswell Opera house, it was the Adrian Union Hall, hosting everything from concerts and graduations to livestock shows and political rallies. Today, there continues to be a lot of variety here.
“Most of what we do is Broadway-style musical theater. We also have plays, children’s productions, and some concerts. We have a new show opening just about every month.”
The theater gives people a chance to connect without technology. “It’s a shared experience that is unlike watching a movie on the big screen or the television at home. You are experiencing something with hundreds of other people and the performers all at the same time.”
Thanks to the community support, that will continue to happen here for generations to come.
Upcoming shows include a Whitney Houston tribute, performances of Little Shop of Horrors, Anything Goes, and Company.
If you’d like to learn more about The Croswell Opera House, click here.
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