(April 30, 1912; Racine Journal-News)
Orpheum Opening Grand Success; Society Patrons of New Theatre; First Bill Presages Future Treats
Brilliantly illuminated, decorated with American beauties and other flowers, a magnificent audience and a program of the highest vaudeville merit marked the opening of the new Orpheum theatre in the Bate block last night.
It is one of the most modern and up-to-date play houses of similar character in the United States.
Descriptions of the place have not been exaggerated, in fact only in part presented. Before the opening hour, 8 o’clock, automobiles and other conveyances deposited scores of people at the entrance, while hundreds of others were on hand.
Reaching the lobby, expressions of surprise were heard, still more was this surprise in evidence when the foyer was reached, both elaborately decorated and luxuriously furnished. But it was in the body of the house that the astonishment broke loose. No one had anticipated anything nearly as beautiful. There were the thirteen mezzanine boxes directly to the east and over the rear of the auditorium proper, finished in ivory and decorations of old rose, each box seating from five to eight people.
Lower Floor Roomy
On the lower floor are the 570 seats, roomy and comfortable, concrete floors covered with carpets, delicately tinted ceilings, chandeliers with forty lights and other features.
Then there is the balcony with nearly 500 seats and so arranged that every part of the house can be seen, and in connection is the family circle. Here the furnishings are in keeping with the balance of the house. There are reception and cloak rooms, in fact everything convenient.
There are fifteen fire exits and the force employed at the house have been drilled to efficiency in case of fire. It is fire proof. The stage is large, the curtains fire proof, but at the same time beautiful and attractive. Under the stage are rooms for the help, actors, etc. A complete description of the house has been given before.
The unanimous vote of the fifteen hundred persons in the audience was: “A grand house; one for the working people to attend and enjoy, attractions warranted to equal any on the vaudeville stage of the larger cities, and convenience assured in all respects. A house for the masses and to be depended upon.”
All Are Pleased
John Bate, owner and builder of the block and theatre; Allardt Bros, and Martin J. Gillen, lessees of the theatre; George Hoffman and company, of South Bend, builders; George Rapp architect of the building; J. D. Hogan, superintendent of construction; representatives of Mandel Bros., decorators, were all there and were delighted with the reception tendered the house by the people of Racine.
Many of the leading theatrical men of the country were also in the audience, among those noticed being: Martin Beck, general manager of the Orpheum circuit and president of the Western Vaudeville association; C. F. Allardt, C. J. Allardt, general managers of the Allardt circuit; C. E. Bray, general manager of the Vaudeville Managers’ association; Bert M. Cortelyou, booking agent; J. C. Elias, Frank Thielen, Coney Holmes, W. E. Butterfield, Karl Hoblitzelle, Marcus Heiman, Sam Kahl and others. These men stated that in all of the opera houses they had seen opened, never before did the audience equal the one here.
Society In Boxes
In the mezzanine boxes were observed the following leading amusement loving people of the city: Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Wallis, Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell Wallis, Miss Lydia Wallis and Mr. Charles McIntosh, Milwaukee.
Mr. and Mrs. R.T. Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Robinson, Mrs. Judson and Miss Eleanor Shoenberger.
Mr and Mrs. Frank J. Miller, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and family, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Brannum.
Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Johnson and family, Mr. and Mrs. Warren J. Davis and family.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank K. Bull, Mrs. John Reid, Miss Juliette Richards, Stephen Bull, II, Emery Jones.
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Simonson, Mrs. Andrew Simonson; Miss Bessie Freeman, Percy Bowerman.
Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Horlick, Mr. and Mrs. James V. Rohan, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Armstrong, Miss Dorothy Armstrong.
Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Johnson and family, Mr. and Mrs. James Cowling and family, and others.
Mrs. P. S. Fuller and daughters, Malcolm Erskine and William Mixer.
Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Crooks, of California, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Case, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Case.
Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Bray, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Butterfield, Mr. and Mrs. E. O. Childs, Mrs. Charles Allardt, Mrs. E. B. Sherman, Mr. and Mrs. Frye, Mrs. Wm. Smal, Mrs. Charles York, Mrs. E. Strayer, Mrs. G. Forest, George Rapp, Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Shane, Mrs. W. W. Pepple, Mrs. Burdick, Miss Berlinger, Mrs. T. D. Foster, Mrs. Kayle, Mr. Rothchild and Miss Simon, all of Chicago.
Mrs. Ida N. Elliott, Miss Ruth Elliott, Miss Kathleen Elliott, Roscoe Guilbert, Paul Blackburn, Fred Hueffner.
Arthur Friedman,.Mr,.and .Mrs. Sol Grollman and daughter, Miss Louisa Feiker, Miss Basch and L. A. Sachs.
The Program Pleases
The program was one of the best along the lines of vaudeville ever given in a theatre here. A feature was the orchestra, under the leadership of Ollie M. Cotton, considered one of the most proficient leaders in the middle west. Among the selections rendered were: “The Band Came Back,” “Il Trovatore,” “The Siren,” “Miss Dudelsack,” “Everybody Two-Step.”
Bailey’s posing dogs excelled anything that could be imagined. It would seem almost impossible to train three dogs to perform in such a remarkable manner, especially in the tableaux, when one would declare that the animals were carved of stone. Not even a muscle or move of the head could be detected.
Lydell and Butterworth, the “Little Brown Lady,” and “Funny Dancer,” gave an exhibition of comedy in every sense of the word. Lydell is a past master, and Miss Butterworth is grace and perfection itself. The gowns of Miss Butterworth were attractive.
Clever Change Artists
Arturo Bernardi sustained his reputation as being one of the cleverest quick change artists in the world. His work was marvelous and the vast audience could not believe it was possible for one individual to make the lightning changes from one character to another and would have wagered there were two artists instead of one. He gave a twenty minute drama and during the presentation impersonated twenty different characters, ranging from a comedy waiter to an adventuress. The first was Gerolamo’s Escapade, in which he appeared as waiter, countryman, his wife, a wandering showman, a coquette, Prof. Baccillo, a soubrette, an official. Then he impersonated the following well known composers: Wagner. Gounod, Mascagni, Liszt, Meyerbeer, Verdi, Sousa and all seemed perfect. “The Surprise.” a comedietta in one act, brought forth the
following characters: a police officer, his wife, a student, deaf old student. Here is where Bernardi showed the audience how he made his marvelous changes, exposing his methods in a novel and interesting manner.
Is Clever Monologist
Murray K. Hill was about as clever and entertaining a monologist seen in this city for years. His work right up to date and kept the people in good humor and a roar of laughter.
Hermine Shone and company in the farcical fantasy, “The Little Goddess,” was well put on the characters being well interpreted. Venus, The Little Goddess, was Miss Hermine Shone; Bob Hammond, Mr. John Sterling; Molly Hammond, Miss Adelle Alcot; Mrs. Wagstaff, Bob’s Mother-in-law; Mrs. Rose Davis, Dick Smith, Will Gaylor; Mephistopholes, George Fisher.
Encores were in evidence.
Manager Andress was more than pleased with the crowd and program. He has a corps of polite and affable attendants who will endeavor to take care of the patrons of the house in pleasing manner.
The moving pictures are clean and of the very latest that the films can produce.
Below is the staff of the new Orpheum:
Manager: H. C. Andress.
Treasurer: Horace Genge.
Door-keeper: Chris Ritt.
Head usher: Harry Petersen.
Stage manager: Louis Rousar.