Friday, February 12, 2016

Star Theater

   Main Street in Russell Springs, KY is home to a beautiful Art Deco styled building. Construction began in May of 1949 and it opened to the public as a movie house on February 28, 1950. It will celebrate its sixty-sixth birthday with the final performance of this season's Beauty and the Beast. The venerable theater served the public as a movie house for three decades. Like many entertainment centers across the county it fell on hard times with the advent of television and expansions in the industry.
   The Star as a movie theater closed in the 1970s and became the home to a number of small businesses over the intervening years until the 1990s. At that time with a gift from a benefactor the Star was purchased and renovated to near its original construction. The Star reopened in 1994 as a playhouse. We were in the first audiences and have managed to make most of the shows for the past twenty-two years.
   It is managed, maintained, and used as show place for live productions sponsored by the Russell County Arts Council. The selections for staging at the Star reflect the values of the community.
   Citizens volunteer hundreds of hours to a production. It takes about six weeks of labor to construct the sets, learn the parts of a play, block the movements of actors (at times with large casts) to their proper places on stage, provide the costumes and props for each cast member, adjust the lightening and sound, and, oh yes, make sure the concession stand is fully stocked. Their's is truly a labor of love. The quality of their work is equal to any small house in the area and they have attracted supporters from surrounding communities.
   It would be impossible for the Star to continue to exist without the generous financial support of patrons, the business community, and other organizations within the county. A big ticket item for quality plays is the royalties that must be paid for the privilege of staging a public performance of a play. This is especially true for the spectacular Broadway musicals.
   Join us as we sit stage left on the front row on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy Beauty and the Beast. It is a show for the entire family. Live theater is a long standing Kentucky tradition, the first advertised performances were is 1790, two years before Kentucky became a state.
   Who knows you might even feel the presence of one of the resident ghosts that Roberta and Lonnie Brown discuss in their book, Haunted Holidays.

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