Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, the Carolina Theatre opened on Halloween night in 1927 and was billed as “The Showplace of the Carolinas.” The 2,200-seat Vaudeville theater was the most monumental structure of its type ever built in Greensboro and later became the first in the state to be air conditioned. Operating as part of the Keith Vaudeville chain, the Theatre’s early programs featured live performing acts, the Carolina Theatre Orchestra, the Carolina News newsreel, an audience sing-along and silent films accompanied by the theater pipe organ. In 1928, the Carolina Theatre became the first theater in the state to install Vitaphone speakers to accompany the new “talking pictures,” and crowds flocked to see films five times daily. After serving as a hub of Greensboro nightlife for 30 years the theatre fell into decline. It was sold to the United Arts Council in 1975, reopened as a 1,200-seat performing arts center in 1977, and is today a fully functioning performing arts facility which has presented artists including Tony Bennett, Garrison Keillor and Alison Krauss and Union Station.
The Carolina Theatre’s fall season includes an original stage production of The Wizard of Oz, Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. For details on this and other productions, visit http://www.carolinatheatre.com/index.aspx.
The Performing Arts in North Carolina website is your guide to music, dance and theater artists and organizations across our state. Learn more by visiting http://www.ncartstrails.org/Default.aspx?alias=www.ncartstrails.org/performingarts.