Crooksville Opera House

West Main Street,
Crooksville, OH 43731

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The 579-seat Crooksville Opera House was built and opened by Emmet E. Brannon as a legitimate house in the pottery and coal-mining community of Crooksville, Ohio, which then had a population of 4,500. The business manager was W. Loughead. The second-floor auditorium had a proscenium opening of 29 feet and a height of 28 feet. The stage depth from the footlights to the back wall was 22 feet; the distance from curtain line to footlights was 3 feet; between the side walls, 51 feet. The stage rose 28 feet to the rigging loft. W. Watts, the orchestra leader, led six musicians in the orchestra, which dissolved when the theatre switched to motion pictures. At some point in the 1930’s, the theatre closed and the building was remodeled by a new owner.

Contributed by Lou Rugani

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 13, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Here is an undated photo of the Crooksville Opera House. This photo shows a view of West Main Street with the Opera House on the right. I haven’t been able to puzzle out from the photos exactly where on Main Street the theater was located, but I don’t see anything resembling it in Google street view, so I suspect that it has been demolished.

Various 1913 issues of an actor’s trade union journal called The Player list theaters that booked vaudeville acts independently, and the Crooksville Opera House was on those lists. It’s likely that the Opera House, like most small town halls of its kind, booked a wide variety of entertainment, including vaudeville, movies, traveling repertory companies, concerts, lectures, perhaps prize fights, and maybe even an opera or two. There would undoubtedly have been purely local events as well, such as amateur theatricals and musicales, community meetings, and maybe school graduation ceremonies.

I haven’t found the Opera House mentioned in any of the movie theater industry trade journals, but by 1928 Crooksville had a movie house called the Majestic Theatre, which had a Reproduco organ installed that year. As I’ve found the Opera House mentioned in Zanesville newspaper items as late as 1932, I don’t think they were the same theater. The Opera House might have abandoned movies after the Majestic opened.

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