A remarkable number of Wisconsin towns and cities were home to an opera house in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some were freestanding structures built by local benefactors, industrialists, and capitalists. Others were located within a city hall building and financed by local tax dollars with the support of government officials who believed in the value of the arts for their community
In Encore! The Renaissance of Wisconsin Opera Houses, Brian Leahy Doyle chronicles the histories of ten Wisconsin opera houses and theaters, from their construction to their heydays as live performance spaces and through the periods when many of these stages went dark. But what makes these stories so compelling is that all but one of the featured theaters has been restored to its original splendor. Just as the beginnings of these theaters were often the result of the efforts of local citizens, Doyle discovers that their restoration is due to the commitment of dedicated and passionate people. More than one of these revived theaters has spurred the revitalization of its surrounding downtown business district as well.
Encore! is the second book in the Places along the Way series. Richly illustrated with historic and contemporary photos, the Places along the Way series links Wisconsin's past with its present, exploring the state's history through its architecture.