A look inside Wisconsin's historic Al Ringling Theatre - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

A look inside Wisconsin's historic Al Ringling Theatre

BARABOO (WAOW) - The curtain is going up on the Al Ringling Theatre's 99th year being dubbed "America's Prettiest Playhouse."

"It's a special theatre because of it's architecture and design," Brian Heller told Newsline 9.

Heller is executive director of the facility built in 1915. It's stately French baroque architecture was constructed under the guidance or Al Ringling of the notable Ringling brothers family circus fame. And the way it looks today is nearly exactly how it was the last the Ringling saw it himself.

"All the curtains are original, all the light fixtures are original, the chandelier is original. It's been very well cared for," Heller said.

That's a fact abundantly visible when walking through the building. The attention to detail its caretakers have demonstrated offers historians a wealth of resources behind the scenes.

"There's a whole collection of 71 drawers full of business records, letters, box office records, posters," Heller said. "We have the check Al Ringling signed for the first performance on opening night in 1915," he continued.

Also original to the theatre behind the nearly 100-year-old red stage curtain is its light board.

"The way the old dimmers work is you can see separate contacts with the different levels of voltage, and as the dimmers move, it would tend to shoot off sparks," Heller said.

Performances are still held at the theatre on a routine basis. For a look at the facility's schedule follow this link.

Tours are also offered. Details can be found at this link.

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