Opera House Unveils Historic Billboards
Posters Presented and Talent Touted at the Tabor
Just when you think most of Leadville’s history has been discovered, someone lifts up a corner of a linoleum floor, and ah-ha another piece of historic memorabilia reveals itself. This time, it was at the Tabor Opera House and in the form of historic posters used to promote such one of a kind performances as “The Girl! The Man! The Game!” and the ever-popular “Mutt & Jeff.”
On Saturday, June 22, the owners of the Tabor Opera House, Sharon and Bill Bland will present these new treasures to the community in a special evening program: A Leadville Night, Talent at the Tabor!
“It was another discovery at the Opera House! We thought we had found all the treasures,” said Sharon Bland regarding the oversized posters recently uncovered. “One of the volunteers who used to come and spend a month every summer helping us out, brought her parents up,” explained Bland about the find. “Her mother lifted up a corner of the linoleum to see what kind of floor was underneath and here were all these posters. What a great find!”
A Classic: Mutt & Jeff!
And these are not your normal-sized posters. These were posters that were displayed on the side of barns and building, broken into quadrants, for easy assembly and travel.
It was a time in Leadville history when the Tabor Opera House was touted as the best theater “west of the Mississippi” and certainly a stopping point for most traveling entertainers of the day. Aside from the more familiar stars of the day, were the traveling variety acts including the “Jerry From Kerry” performing troupe whose posters are now framed and on display at the historic theater.
“It took us probably 5 or 6 years to get the money together to get them framed and preserved, explained Bland. “ High Country Glass did a great job with that. So we want to officially introduce them to the public on June 22, when we have our Leadville community affair – our talent show!”
Traveling entertainment troupes often used the side of a barn to display their posters.
A Leadville Night: Talent at The Tabor!
The preservation and presentation of these posters, prompted the inspiration for a performance to accompany the sign unveiling. That eventually led to the creation of A Leadville Night: Talent at The Tabor! (See classic videos from this 2013 show below!)
“We really wanted to have a night where we would open up the Opera House to the community to present the old posters, now beautifully framed. We thought, why not showcase some local talent at the same time,” explained Bland.
So consider this an open call to audition for the event to be performed live at the Tabor Opera House on Saturday, June 22. Individuals and groups can audition in the categories of dance, vocal, instrumental, comedy or drama/magic. Routines are to be kept to a 3-5 minute performance. You can download an audition form HERE. Performers can also pick up an Audition Form at City On A Hill Coffee Shop in downtown Leadville.
All forms are due by June 1, 2013. They can be dropped off at the Tabor Opera House (if they’re not open, drop in mail slot), forms can also be mailed to TOH, 308 Harrison Avenue, Leadville, CO 80461 or you can scan a completed form and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Auditions will take place on Tuesday, June 4 and Wednesday June 5, from 4 – 7 p.m. at the opera house, so performers should be available one of these dates/times. Judges will contact perspective performers via email to set up auditions.
In addition to the evening’s unveiling of the posters and talent show, there will be some storytelling from the folks that uncovered the signs, as well as a representative from High Country Glass, who did the framing. The evening will also include a book signing from local author Gretchen Scanlon with her recently published “A History of Leadville Theater.”
So mark the calendar for Saturday, June 22 for a community-unity event at Harrison Avenue’s crown jewel of entertainment: The Historic Tabor Opera House. There will be a suggested donation of $5/general admission, all ages, with funds going towards the opera house’s ongoing renovation efforts. If you have never been inside this historic gem, this is the night to do it! Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and seating is limited, so get there early.