Tourists from across Iowa and beyond can find many historic treasures hidden within the river bluffs of Clayton County. One such treasure is the restored Elkader Opera House in the town’s historic Main Street. Built in 1903, the Elkader Opera House has housed numerous productions, and in 2004 underwent a renovation process to restore the historic essence of the building. Since its restoration, the Elkader Opera House has become one of the most talked about and visited small theaters in the Midwest and caters to performances by guest artists as well as their own Opera House Players.
The moment I walked through the massive double doors of the three-story building, I knew I was in a special place. While ascending the grand staircase in the center of the first floor, the historic presence of the building filtered through my mind. The red and floral-patterned carpeting and grandiose feeling of the space is prominent throughout the building. While ascending the stairs to the balcony, there was a separate room with elegant wallpaper glass cases filled with relics of the past. Photographs on the wall showed how the Opera House looked almost one hundred years ago, and actors and house players were photographed in midst of their performances. There’s a great feeling of pride in their little museum, and it was a joy to see the tradition of the Opera House continue today.
While having a seat in the balcony, I took in my surroundings. The wide open space had a grand feeling about it, heightened by the vibrant red upholstered seats, deep red carpet, and the large, elegant chandelier that hung from the tall ceiling. The grandeur of the building was prominent, and it was a special treat to be able to see a performance in such a grand setting.
This fall, the Opera House Players will be performing “Catch Me If You Can” on September 29, 30, October 5, 6, and 7 at 7:30pm, and matinees on September 28 and October 1 at 2pm. The Opera House Players never disappoint, and their performances are renowned and always fantastic. For a taste of the art of theatre, join the community of Elkader and watch a performance in a truly unique place.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Visit Iowa