History -- Lyric Live Theater,
A Mid Missouri Community Theater

  Researched  and  Written   by    Mary Hudson  -  2006

 NOTE: colored underlines are links to  photographs.

 The Lyric Live Theater, operated by the Regional Opera Company, located  at
 117 First Street, Newburg, Missouri, was constructed  as  a  movie  theater
 during the era of silent movies. It occupies the same block as  the  oldest
 existing building in the city, the Houston House, built in 1883 and is next
 door to the old Sullivan Hotel, which was  built  soon  after  the  Houston
 House. Newburg, a city developed  by  the  Frisco  Railroad,  was  given  a
 birthday of 1884 by the local citizens. The railroad workers brought  their
 families to the new city, businesses soon followed, and Newburg was  looked
 on as a boomtown.

 In 1895, Dr. William Franklin Burns, a physician from  Mackinaw,  Illinois,
 married Sarah Elizabeth Johnson of Newburg, in the city of Newburg. The new
 family made Newburg their home and worked toward  making  the  new  city  a
 better place to live. Dr. Burns was owner of the local  pharmacy  in  April
 1919 when he made the decision to build a theater in the fast-growing city.
 He contracted William J. Mitchell of Rolla, Missouri, to build the theater,
 and work on the building commenced shortly thereafter,  with  the  expected
 opening to take place by the first of June 1919.

 Mr. M. F. Meade, editor of The Phelps County Record newspaper, was  showing
 movies on the second floor of the Pinto store in Newburg. He took  a  five-
 year lease on the new theater building while it was under construction  and
 together, Dr. Burns and Mr. Meade  named  the  new  theater  building  “The
 Community Theater” because they  expected  to  make  it  a  real  community
 enterprise—a theater they hoped every person in Newburg and vicinity  would
 take   pride    in.    The Community Theater  was to be one of the  best
 country theaters in this  section  and  would  compare  favorably  to  many
 theaters in cities of two to three times the size of Newburg. To  guarantee
 that the movies would be shown without interruptions from the  undependable
 electric system familiar to Newburg residents, the  theater  installed  its
 own power plant.

 Mr. Meade often mentioned in newspaper reports  that  he  was  striving  to
 bring top-quality entertainment to The Community Theater. Not only was  the
 building to be used for motion pictures but, at a very  reasonable  charge,
 would be made available to the community  for  other  uses.  The  Community
 Theater was one of the very few businesses in Newburg not directly  related
 to  railroading.  The  theater  building  illustrated  the  growth  of  the
 community and the diversification of its economy.

 As often happens, the project did not go as planned. The facing  brick  was
 not delivered  on  schedule,  causing  the  construction  to  be  held  up.
 Therefore, the June opening date had to be postponed. The next opening date
 was set for July 24, 1919, with a planned grand opening showing  the  movie
 “The Heart of Humanity,” a first-run film in New  York,  Chicago,  and  St.
 Louis. All seats were sold well in advance of this date, but the film  did
 not arrive  on   time.    The first event  at the theater was not a  movie,
 but a live stage lecture and demonstration by Chief Wm. Red  Fox,  a  full-
 blooded Sioux Indian, son of Chief Black Eagle of the Rosebud Agency, South
 Dakota. This lecture was on General Custer’s  Last  Fight,  the  Battle  of
 Wounded Knee, the Habits and Customs of Indians, as well as War Songs,  War
 Dances, Blanket Dances, Green Corn Dance, and other Native  Indian  Dances.
 Chief Red Fox served seven years in  the  United  States  Navy  and  was  a
 graduate of Carlisle Indian School. He used his  lectures  as  a  means  of
 helping people understand the Indian’s viewpoint. The first movie shown  at
 this theater was “Shark Monroe,” on August 05,  1919,  one  of  William  S.
 Hart’s best offerings at that time.

 Playbills published in the local newspaper advertising movies  on  Tuesday,
 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with a matinee on Saturday, showed that the
 theater was being supported by the community and thriving quite  well.  The
 starting time for the Saturday matinee was 3 p.m., lasting until 4:30  p.m.
 This time schedule made it difficult for the railroad  workers  who  worked
 the evening shift to attend the matinee and be at work by 4 p.m. The Frisco
 Railroad officials made a request to the theater manager to reschedule  the
 Saturday matinee so the railroad workers could enjoy the show  and  get  to
 work on time without having to leave before the movie was over. The theater
 manager complied with this request, changing the matinee starting time from
 3 p.m. to 2 p.m.

 The Community Theater was used not only for movies but also for diversified
 entertainment at no charge. There  were  school  graduation  exercises  and
 school plays, as well as fund raising events for the community when needed.
 Mr. Meade, the manager, donated the use of the theater building on  Tuesday
 afternoon, December 23,  1919,  to  the  Newburg  School  for  a  Christmas
 program. Movies were not shown for two nights in April 1920 so the  theater
 could be used for the Newburg High School  graduation  exercise.  To  raise
 funds for a soldier’s memorial, the theater was donated by the  manager  on
 Friday, April 30, 1920. The play selected was “The Triflers,” featuring the
 popular comedienne Edith Roberts, along with a planned music  program.  Not
 only was the theater donated for this benefit,  but  the  services  of  the
 staff as well.

 In 1922, for the price of 40 cents for adults and 20  cents  for  children,
 one could be entertained  by  high-class  entertainers  such  as  Domingo’s
 Filipino Seranaders, the only celebrated violinist in America of  the  1921
 era. And in 1922, W. C. Buckner’s Original Dixie Jubilee  Concert  Company,
 the best African American singing ensemble of  its  time,  entertained  the
 residents. This group presented a great company of artists in a  high-class
 program of melody, mirth, and humor, and classic  comic,  sentimental,  and
 character numbers. It is quite possible that  Blind  Boone  entertained  at
 this theater because it was his practice to  travel  by  railroad  for  his
 engagements. Since The Community Theater is located across the street  from
 the Frisco Railroad tracks, the historians of Blind Boone believe  that  he
 may have entertained there.

 The Community Theater was made available from April through May in 1922 for
 the Newburg High School senior play, “A Southern Cinderella!,” as well as a
 boys band concert and an 8th grade graduation party. In September 1922, the
 theater was used by Mrs. C. D. Huckins and Miss Francis  Baggatt,  teachers
 of expression in Springfield, Missouri, assisted by locals  Mrs.  H.  Bull,
 and Messrs. Houston, Houck, Johnson, and Williams  to  raise  funds  for  a
 relief fund. They raised $240.00, which was quite a sum  to  be  raised  in
 those days.

 About  1925,  the    theater     name     was     changed     to     “Lyric
 Theater.”   Along  with  the  name  change,  the  front  of  the
 building was changed to a  look  that  most  residents  of  Newburg  fondly
 recall. The sunburst window over the door was covered  over  and  a  three-
 sided  canopy  was  added  to  the  front  of  the  building  with   lights
 illuminating the name “Lyric” on all three  sides.  Playbill  holders  were
 placed on the sides of the building near  the  entrance  and  covered  with
 chicken wire to hold the playbills in place.

 Some of the older residents of Newburg can recall their days of youth spent
 in this theater. They remember that there  was  no  running  water  and  no
 restrooms. A coal stove in the front of  the  theater  heated  it  in  cool
 weather. Most of these people were on stage during their school  days  when
 the theater was used for high school plays  or  other  school  events.  Zoe
 Virginia Tankersley, born  in  1918  in  Newburg  and  now  a  resident  of
 Michigan, said that she went to see  the  movie  “Ben  Hur”  in  the  Lyric
 Theater in the mid-1920s, accompanied by her mother, and that she preformed
 on the theater’s stage when she was in high school. The Western  Historical
 Manuscript Collection, University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR)  Library,  Rolla,
 Missouri, has a copy of a program for the Newburg High School  junior  play
 in 1930, “The Busy Bee,” and an advertisement for a  movie  in  1934,  “The
 Forgotten Men.” The program and the movie advertisement indicate  that  the
 theater was surviving in the depression years.  However,  Newburg  and  the
 theater did not escape the hard times felt across the nation, and in  1937,
 the theater building was  deeded  to  the  city  of  Newburg,  a  municipal

 The theater has an on-again, off-again history, struggling to  survive  the
 adverse economy brought about by the depression of  the  early  1930s.  The
 building continued to be used to raise money  for  benefits,  as  shown  in
 advertisements in “The Newburg Times” newspaper. On the night of  April  4,
 1939, the proceeds from two showings of the  movie  “Start  Cheering”  were
 donated to purchase bats and balls for the  Recreation  Center.  That  same
 month, on the evening of April 18, the movie “There’s  That  Woman  Again,”
 along with music by the school band and a two-reel comedy with talkies, was
 presented in two showings to raise funds for a hot-lunch room. And on  June
 27, 1939, a benefit for the building fund of the Christian Church was  held
 at the theater.

 Having seen better days,  the  theater  was  in  need  of  repairs  to  the
 interior. Mrs. Beulah Fuller, mother of Edward Fuller, a  Newburg  boy  who
 had made good in his career of acting, brought the plight  of  the  theater
 building to her Newburg Civics Club meeting and asked for  assistance  from
 the club to repair the interior of the building so that a regular series of
 movies could be established. The  club  approved  the  suggestion  offered.
 (Years later, Edward’s brother Ron Fuller made a statement to  Helen  Berg,
 theater secretary, that he felt his brother  became  interested  in  acting
 from watching the movies in the Lyric Theater.)

 In October 1939,  the  theater  was  named  “Newburg  Theater.”  Under  the
 management of a local  resident,  Homer  Coffman,  and  with  a  completely
 remodeled and redecorated interior, thanks to the Newburg Civics Club,  the
 theater interior was once again in first-class condition. The theater  held
 a grand opening on Thursday, October 19, 1939, with the movie “Only  Angels
 Have Wings,” with movies scheduled to  be  shown  on  Monday  and  Thursday
 nights. A large crowd attended the formal grand opening. It is unknown just
 when the theater upgraded the equipment in  the  projection  room  to  have
 sound, but the major filmmakers were producing  talking  pictures  by  this
 time. The name “Lyric” remained  on  the  front  canopy,  and  the  theater
 continued to be used by the citizens of Newburg when needed.

 World War II is credited with reviving the economy in Newburg and  creating
 a boomtown for a second time in its young history. The theater, again using
 the name “Lyric Theater,” flourished in 1942, with shows being shown  seven
 nights a week—two shows nightly and a matinee on Saturday. The construction
 of the Fort Leonard Wood military base brought 38,000 job  seekers  through
 the doors of the employment office in Newburg. The town’s  population  grew
 from 600 to more than 6,000 in a matter of weeks. The military used Newburg
 as a shipping point for the soldiers via the  Frisco  Railroad.  Since  the
 Lyric Theater was  the  main  focus  of  recreation  and  entertainment  in
 Newburg, there is no telling how many of our  national  heroes  graced  the
 doors of the Lyric Theater as they were being shipped overseas during World
 War II. At the end of the war, changes came for the area, and Newburg again
 became a small town, trying to survive. The  theater  did  not  escape  the
 economic changes that befell Newburg.  By  the  late  1940s,  traveling  by
 automobile made it easier for the residents to get outside of  Newburg  for
 entertainment other than a movie. Bob  Forester,  a  resident  of  Newburg,
 recalls that the theater closed for a while about 1948 and  reopened  about

 Joe Cooper, a former resident of Newburg who operated the projectors at the
 Lyric Theater in 1951–1952, said that “the Lyric Theater reopened again  in
 1950 under the management of Tink Huff, of Lebanon,  Missouri.  ‘Gone  With
 The Wind,’ an all-time classic movie, was  shown  during  the  time  I  was
 projectionist. The projection booth had to be fireproof. There  were  small
 port windows that you could look out at the screen with steel plates  above
 the windows. The old 35mm film was  very  flammable;  it  would  burn  like
 gasoline. There were 35 frames a second going to the projection  head,  and
 the light from the lamp houses was very hot. If the film broke or  hung  up
 in the head you had a fire. The theater had a fire burn up three  reels  of
 film. Later, they came out with safety film that wouldn't burn.  The  Lyric
 Theater was open six nights a week and closed on Tuesday.  Along  with  the
 main feature, the patrons saw a cartoon and a newsreel.”

 This was the era of infancy for television, and the  theater  newsreel  was
 the only way to view the action taking place in the Korean War our  country
 was involved in during the 1950s.  By  the  mid-1950s,  most  homes  had  a
 television for entertainment and instant news, and the Lyric Theater,  like
 others in small towns across the country, did  not  survive  progress.  The
 Lyric Theater closed its doors as a theater about 1955.

 The city of Newburg sold the  theater  building  in  1957  to  a  group  of
 businessmen, and the local lumber company used it for  storage.  After  the
 group purchased the building, the Lyric marquee and the playbill cases were
 removed from the front of the building, and the sunburst  window  over  the
 front  door  remained  boarded  over.  A photograph  taken  about  1976
 shows the building in a state of disrepair.

 In  1983,  “Jay   D.
 Turley”  —a playwright, director, and producer from  Blackwater,
 Missouri, with Hollywood and Arrow Rock experience—recognized the value  of
 the old Lyric Theater to the Newburg community. Mr.  Turley  purchased  the
 building    and    on     October 24, 1983,   held a public meeting at the
 local Newburg School for the purpose of renaming the  building  and  asking
 for volunteers to help clean up the building and to  perform  on  stage.  A
 sign was painted and placed on the building during  this  time  calling  it
 “Opera House.” The  name  chosen  for  the  theater  at  this  meeting  was
 “Regional  Opera  Company.”  Antique  light  fixtures  from  Mr.   Turley’s
 collection were  installed  in  the  lobby  and  auditorium.  Plumbing  was
 installed, and two restrooms were built in the old building.  The  sunburst
 window over the door was uncovered in 1991 and the original glass was still

 2005, with Cheryl Hicks and Gracie Leininger 

 The  first  show  presented  by  the  Regional  Opera  Company,   “Showboat
 A’Comin’,” opened in December, using an all-volunteer cast. Throughout  the
 years since 1983, numerous improvements and upgrades have been made to  the
 theater building, while keeping the theater in its original state  as  much
 as possible.

 While living in  California,  Mr.  Turley  had  written  material  for  the
 Crippled Children’s and Cancer drives, as well as episodes for  movies  and
 TV shows. “A Signal for Miss Elizabeth” won the 1975  Writers  Guild  Award
 for the best dramatic play of the year. Mr. Turley wrote and sold “Portrait
 of a Giant” to Federal-One Productions of Los Angeles, California, in 1985.
 He registered his plays with the Writers Guild in Berkeley, California.

 On February 1,  1992,  Mr.  Turley  and  White-Lawson  Productions  of  San
 Francisco signed a contract for rights to produce in entirety or  portions,
 five of Mr. Turley’s plays. Titles of the contracted works were  “A  Signal
 for   Miss   Elizabeth,”   “Mrs.   Ryan’s   Heirs,”   Flight    409,”
   “Orphan Train West,”  and “Big Molly.” The five plays included in the
contract  have all been produced in Newburg by the Regional Opera Company.

 Mr. Turley wrote his  plays  about  people  he  enjoyed  talking  to  while
 traveling throughout Missouri and Texas, as well as drawing on  some  parts
 of his own life’s experiences. After extensive research, he  wrote  “Orphan
 Train West,” which is about the trains that ran from New York west  through
 Missouri, bringing orphaned children to be left off with families along the
 way. Mr. Turley did an excellent job of bringing their  stories  to  light.
 Some of these children, as senior citizens, were alive to attend the  play.
 When the play is presented, the  audience  often  includes  descendants  of
 these orphan train children.

 One of the original charter members of the Regional Opera Company,  Cherrie
 Simpson, who sang on stage a few times with Luci Myers  at  the  Cedar  St.
 Center, Rolla, Missouri, is presently under contract as an  entertainer  at
 the Meramac Theater in Steelville, Missouri. Her first acting in plays with
 speaking lines was at the Regional Opera Company under the direction of Jay
 D. Turley in 1984.  Cherrie  returned  to  entertain  at  this  theater  as
 recently as 2004.

 Carol Van Biesen of Rolla, who played the part of Miss Lotta Lamour in 1984
 in “The People’s Court,”  a  Jay  D.  Turley  play,  tells  of  her  mother
 performing on this same stage several years ago.

 When Judge Douglas E. Long Jr. was hearing the murder trial of  John  David
 Brown in Adair County, Missouri, in August 1989, he made  arrangements  for
 the jurors to see the  stage  play  “White  Swan”  at  the  Regional  Opera
 Company. The special circumstances meant there could be no one else in  the
 theater while the jurors were there, and the cast  volunteered  to  have  a
 show just for the jury. This is an example of the dedication and generosity
 of the cast members who volunteer at  this  theater.  Judge  Long  wrote  a
 letter to Mr. Turley and the cast, thanking them for their extra effort  on
 behalf of the jurors.

 Mr. Turley continued to write and direct plays at this  theater  until  the
 end of the 1997 season. Several years earlier, he had sold the building  to
 the Regional Opera Company. When he retired from managing  the  theater  in
 1997, he turned the task over to Frank Bridges,  of Rolla. Mr. Turley  moved
back  to his hometown of Blackwater, where he resided until his death in
November  2004.

 Mr. Bridges, a retired military officer and currently a REALTOR® in  Rolla,
 continues to carry out the work started by Jay D. Turley, by continuing  to
 offer a place for anyone in the region to show off their talents and  learn
 about the work involved in the theater. A few of the participants have  had
 acting experience in Hollywood; others have been on the stage at the  Leach
 Theater at Castleman Hall, in Rolla.  Some  of  the  members  have  studied
 acting and  performed  on  stage  in  Newburg  as  an  extension  of  their
 education. Quite often, the cast is actors/actresses who have  not  had  an
 opportunity to be onstage before, and a few have had no acting experience.

Mr. Bridges encourages anyone who wants  to  be  involved  with  work  in  a
theater—without regard to age, race, sex, or religion—to audition for  parts
or to become involved in other areas  of  the  theater,  from  directing  to
serving as cashier. New playwrights also are given an  opportunity  to  have
their plays presented onstage at the Regional Opera Company. One such writer
is Debbie McGrath, a longtime member of the Rolla Area Writers Guild,  whose
poems and essays have been published and awarded numerous  prizes  over  the
years. Ms. McGrath’s first play, “The Story Teller,” debuted at the Regional
	Opera Company on May 2000 and was presented again in May 2006.

The late Minnie Bradford
of Rolla wrote “The Black-berry Patch,” a three-act play about the Black-
berry Patch Restaurant in Rolla, during World  War  II.  This play was
presented onstage by the Regional Opera Company in June 2001.

 The people who are involved with this theater for regular performances  are
 volunteers, including the theater manager. All the  money  donated  at  the
 door is used toward maintaining the building.  There  are  several  special
 shows each season, and these performers have made arrangements  to  take  a
 part of the door money for their  expenses,  as  they  often  travel  great
 distances to perform at this  theater.

'Bob Milne' internationally known ragtime pianist and story teller;  travels
from Michigan to perform at the Lyric Live Theater.  Bob has performed for
past President Bush, the Emperor of Japan, and other heads of state.  Bob
has been recorded in the Library of Congress.

'Pake McEntire' of Oklahoma; had three hits in the top 20's in the 1980  and
is again recording new songs. Pake McEntire has played in bands for  several
number one country music recording artist. Pake enjoys being the only
brother of his famous sisters Reba and Susie McEntire, often giving the
audience an insite to the sisters youth.

'Dave Para and Cathy Barton' from Columbia MO.; play several insturments and
diverse songs. They travel great distances and talk with many old timers  to
learn and record the words of old songs which might otherwise be lost. They
share with the audience the history of many songs they present on stage
Cathy is a master of several music insturments.

'Mick Byrd' of Vienna MO.; held his 6th CD release concert at this theater
and will be making return visits to perform here.

'Tribute To The Legends' from as far way as New Mexico and  Texas;  a  music
group keeping the 1950's -1980 music alive with both vocal  and  costume  as
well as new song's written by the members of  this  group  had  their  first
appearance here in 2007.

'Alex Primm" a local preforming as 'Stub Borders' a Piney River Tie  Rafter;
as an old-time tie-hacker and rafter with  slides,  music,  tools  and  oral
history audio.

 At the meeting held at the end of the 2005 season,  it  was  discussed  and
 voted with approval to rename the theater one more  time.  “Lyric”  is  the
 name of the theater which gave the community of Newburg so much service and
 memories. The members voted to continue using the word Lyric  in  the  name
 and renamed the theater “Lyric  Live  Theater.”  It  will  continue  to  be
 operated by the Regional Opera Company in the same way it  has  since  1983
 when Jay D. Turley reopened the fine old theater building. Since 1983 until
 the present, the theater has been in continuous operation  as  a  community
 theater. This past year, we researched the history of the building and have
 started the long process to nominate The Community Theater for the National
 Registry of Historic Places.

A calendar   is   available   on   the   theater’s    Web    site    at
www.lyriclivetheater.com. Mr.  Bridges  encourages  large  groups  to  make
reservations so they can be seated together. You can make reservation  from
the web site or e-mail frankbridges@frankbridges.com

 With the continued support of loyal theatergoers  and  dedicated  volunteer
 actors/actresses to keep it thriving, the historic Lyric Live Theater  will
 remain one of the area’s most unique attractions.
Cordell Webb - memories of Attending Lyric Theater
Helen Burg, Ron Fuller and wife Helen was a long time historian of the theater.
Roy Kendrick, Lyric Theater owner 1954
Bill Sternburg passed away in 2004
More about J.D. Turley


J. D. Turley

             Jay D. Turley,  a  great-great-grandson  of  Jessie  Turley.  Jessie
             Turley,  a  friend  of  Kit  Carson,   Missouri's   first   recorded
             Millionaire, a Santa Fe Trader and  among  the  first  to  free  his

             Rolla Daily News, August 2, 1985, by:  Helen  Berg  Jay  D.  Turley,
             playwright, director and producer  with  Hollywood  and  Arrow  Rock
             experience, recognized the value of the old Lyric  Theater  /  Opera
             House to the Newburg community. Turley, a co-founder of  the  Lyceum
             theatre, the Jane Froman Music Center and the Santa Fe  Theatre,  an
             outdoor arena, all at Arrow Rock…… In 1950 Turley directed  Presidio
             Military Theatre, San Francisco, California.

             Turley, an architect and  interior  decorator  by  training  at  the
             University of California at Los Angeles, California;  has  been  all
             over the world designing hotel interiors. When in Nevada, took  part
             in restoration of the historic mining town of Virginia City,  buying
             and restoring the Gold Hill Hotel on the south side of town.

             Turley was first recognized as a professional playwright when he was
             writing productions for the national fund rising  for  the  National
             Easter Seals programs and the American Cancer  Society.  Jay  Turley
             wrote and sold "Portrait of a Giant" to Federal-One  Productions  of
             Los Angeles, CA in 1985.

             Rolla Daily News, year unk, by: Steve  Gaynor.  Long  ago  Tennessee
             Williams said of his fellow Missourian's work. "Jay  Turley  is  the
             Charles Dickens among dramatic writers."  It  is  that  flavor  that
             makes Turley's plays so appealing…………. A number of  his  plays  have
             been produced on stages throughout this country in which well  known
             actors starred. Several are often seen on British and Irish  stages.
             His biographical play, "A  signal  for  Miss  Elizabeth,"  has  been
             translated into seven languages.

             Public Notice found in ROC Scrapbooks, On October 24,  1983  held  a
             public meeting at the local school for the purpose of  renaming  the
             Lyric Theater building, asking for and getting  volunteers  to  help
             clean up the building, and volunteers to perform on stage. The first
             show opened, "Showboat A Comin," in December the same year, using an
             all volunteer cast.

             Jay Turley: wrote more than 60 plays and they are registered at the,
             Writers Guild in Berkley CA. Five play's sold to be used in whole or
             in part for  TV  and  movie  production  are:  "A  signal  for  Miss
             Elizabeth" "Mrs. Ryan's Heirs" "Flight  409"  "Orphan  Trains  West"
             "Big Molly".

             Turley's plays were written about people he met and places  he  came
             in contact with throughout his life. The play, "Orphan Train  West,"
             written about actual historical events in history was an  exception.
             This play required research of history and when a production of this
             play was at any theater in MO., there most always have  been  either
             orphans who rode the train or their descendants in the audience.

             J. D. Turley passed away in November 2004 at his home in Arrow Rock,

Lyric Live Theater

Old Newspapers

Lyric Live Theater
Operated by:Regional Opera Company,
117 First Street,    (formerly Front Street)      
Newburg, Missouri

        A Few Newspaper Articles Printed In Past Newspapers

May 31, 1994 Welcome to the  Ozarks  HOMEGROWN  THEATER  Regional
Opera Company is a true community theatre

The Regional Opera Company has been called "home  grown  theater"
and "local theater." The correct  technical  term  is  "community

"Community theater,"  generally  speaking,  is  made  up  of  all
volunteers   --amateur   actors   and   technicians."   explained
playwright/director Jay Turley. "Professional" theater  means  at
least part of the cast is made up of card-carrying actors,  union
members," Turley said.

The director said the card is "technically, the only difference."

Turley said: "That in the 30 years he has been associated with  the
theater, both community and professional, the only difference  he
has seen between the two is the cards some actors carry. There is
no difference in talent."


Part of  an  editorial  printed  in  Rolla  Daily  News,  date
unknown, writer RDH.

Regional Opera Co. proves itself again

Sometimes I feel like jumping up and down at the corner of 10 and
Pine streets, screaming. "Hey, Rolla,  don't  sell  the  Regional
Opera Company short just because the actors are amateurs. Go  see
their plays."

I've been going to see the Regional Opera Company's plays at  the
Old Opera House in Newburg for several years and have never  been
bored. Some plays have been better than  others,  but  none  have
been dull. I've never been disappointed.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Rolla has taken the opportunity to
drive the short trip to Newburg  to  see  the  offerings  of  the
community theater. Many  of  you  remain  among  the  unconverted
simply because you haven't been exposed to the theater.


June 16, 1994 "Aaron's Way," Presenting  Grace  Leininger,  David
Hohenfeldt, Don Macormic.

If you  think  the  Regional  Opera  Company  just  does  comedy,
"Aaron's Way" will change your mind. This dramatic play is  based
on the true story of an Amish family in central Missouri some  30
years ago. Althought the Amish live a simple, secluded life  away
from modern mores and mechanisms, no one is isolated  from  human
nature and temptation of sin.

The heart and substance of the play is  in  how  each  member  of
Aaron Huffman's family deals with  a  situation  that  tests  the
strength of the family unit  as  well  as  their  traditions  and
faith,  Don  Macormic  is   frighteningly   believable   as   the
overbearing matriarch.  Grace  Leininger  is  Elizabeth,  Aaron's
steadfast and devoted wife.