On Wednesday evening,The Newport Opera House Theater will present author Paul Miller for a discussion of his acclaimed book “Lost Newport,” an evocative guide to more than 100 cottages built from the early 1800s through early 1900s.

Miller is scheduled to give a fascinating talk on Newport’s vanished architecture that will honor the history of Washington Square as well as its much-anticipated future, one which hinges upon the reopening of the Opera House Theater in 2018 as Newport’s premiere location for live performances. Wednesday night’s event will benefit the ongoing Newport Opera House Theater Restoration project and will take place at neighboring Jane Pickens Theater.  

To attend, purchase a $25 ticket here: http://www.operahousetheaternewportri.org/lost-newport/

The restoration of the Opera House, whose stage was once graced by historical figures such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass and Duke Ellington, is part of a wider revitalization plan to reestablish Washington Square as an epicenter of performance art, explains Opera House Executive Administrator Liz Drayton. “We’re at the beginning stages of creating a theater district in Newport,” Drayton says. “In the 1920s, there were four major theaters in this area that could hold 500-1200 people: the Opera House, Strand Theater (now Jane Pickens), Colonial Theater and Paramount Theater. Our focus now is to preserve and make the best out of the two that are left.”

Working in close partnership with the Jane Pickens Theater, Drayton and team are creating a dynamic, year-round program that Newport residents can enjoy, with the goal of having shows in January, February and March. “We are two distinct theaters that are collaborating and speaking to different needs of the community,” she says. “The Opera House’s focus is on live performances, whereas the Jane Pickens Theater is all about film.”  Drayton says that in addition to presenting a variety of musical performances in genres like folk, classical, and jazz, the Opera House will also host speakers. About 20% of programming will be geared toward families.

Urban planners and residents anticipate the Opera House will play a major role in catalyzing development of Newport’s historic downtown, a subject that will be covered at Wednesday night’s event. “In addition to talking about important buildings that were torn down, Paul Miller will be discussing how restored Opera House will play a vital role in the community’s future,” Drayton says. The Opera House is predicted to become a significant economic driver in the community and wider region generating $1.6 million per year in new direct and indirect economic activity.

Don’t miss a chance to learn more about the future of the Opera House as well as Newport’s lost architectural history. Purchase tickets now here: http://www.operahousetheaternewportri.org/lost-newport/

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