Winnipeg's Pantages Playhouse celebrates 100th birthday
Ron Robinson to host birthday bash with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on June 29
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will bring back the memories in a 100th birthday party on June 29, hosted by the affable Ron Robinson.
Robinson described a typical day at the theatre where the train would pull up just behind the building at 9:00 in the morning, the performers and crew would unload, a rehearsal would be under way at 10:30, then the first show would begin at 2:00.
The ticket price for a show was 10 cents or 35 cents for the fancier seats.
"Winnipeg was the testing ground even back then. Winnipeg is where they set the tone, where they set the sequence of what the acts would be as they travelled west to Seattle and Los Angeles," he said.
Vaudeville, "the sissified French word for variety show," explained Robinson, involved singing and dancing, but also magic, dancing dogs and even short films.
And the beautiful architecture made an evening out even more special. Alexander Pantages owned 30 theatres and had control of contracts for another 60. He generally used the same architect for his new theatres and the style became known as "Pantages Greek."
"Everybody who was anybody was there," said Robinson.
For this 100th anniversary concert the audience is invited to dress in vaudeville attire for a chance to win a season's subscription to the WSO's 2014-2015 season.
The concert, with a long list of invited guests, will reflect the golden era of the Pantages with some Gilbert and Sullivan, jazz, classical, even some tap dancing and magic.
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra presents Happy Birthday Pantages Playhouse! on Sunday, June 29 at 7:30. Tickets are just $10.