Call for Camden Opera House memories

Feb 04, 2014
The Camden Opera House is pictured in 1912.

Camden — Beginning in June, the Camden Opera House will begin a yearlong celebration of becoming 120 years “young.” The historic structure was built in 1894, after the first wooden structure was demolished in a large fire that consumed much of downtown Camden. The first event the current brick National Historic Registered property was the opera “Maritama” in June 1894.

A lot of performances, events and occasions have occurred since then, and it is time to honor and remember them. The opera house staff is looking to borrow memorabilia — photographs, programs, posters, newspaper clippings, etc. — for display and to hear stories and memories from the venue’s rich past.

John Astin (Gomez on TV’s “The Addams Family”) Fred Gwynne (“The Munsters”) and Ming Cho Lee (Tony and Drama Desk Award winning set designer) all got their start here … and Mae West, Tallulah Bankhead and many others paid a visit. More recently, John Legend (with Poptech), Richie Havens, Hot Tuna, Olympian Seth Westcott, Chicago Second City and many more have appeared, and coming up, a few of the Best of the Best from the past concerts are scheduled including Iris Dement, Ellis Paul and Noel Paul Stookey on Windjammer Festival weekend, more to be announced.

The opera house managers welcome those interested in participating in any way including gathering or providing information and volunteering to assist in 120th anniversary events. People are encouraged to email Kerry Hadley, Opera House Manager, at khadley@camdenmaine.gov or call 236-7963.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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