Wausau's Grand Theater has grand history - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau's Grand Theater has grand history


The Grand Theater in downtown Wausau has seen a lot of history.  And it's a history Executive Director Jim O'Connell is in charge of keeping alive.  

O'Connell says working at the theater is a dream job.  In college, he double majored in drama and government.  Though those two fields are vastly different, he says the Grand Theater, 401 4th Street, Wausau, has united them in his work. 

"The interesting thing I've found is whatever you learn becomes part of your career.  My government major emphasized urban planning and to see the impact the Grand has on downtown Wausau is close to my heart.  We're excited to be a key element in one of the most extraordinary small city downtowns in the state" O'Connell told Newsline 9.

Originally built for silent movies in 1926, today it's function has changed.  But it's looks have not.  O'Connell says the Grand epitomizes classical revival architecture, with influences of Greek and Roman flare that also serve a purpose. 

Red curtains in the theater hide large organ pipes, a mainstay of silent movie theaters in the 1920's.  Organs were used to provide a real-time soundtrack to movies before the advent of sound movies. 

From silent movie theater to live action performance center, O'Connell says the theater is a great place to be. 

"At the Grand the way you respond effects the performance, a performance that will never happen that way again" O'Connell said smiling. 

For a link to a calendar of events coming to the Grand Theater in 2013, follow this link: http://www.grandtheater.org/calendar/


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