Wyoming, a Guide to Its History, Highways, and People

By Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Wyoming | Go to book overview

The Theater

THE Julesburg Theatrical Troupe, Wyoming's first dramatic performers, reached Cheyenne by stagecoach, wheels rumbling and harness jingling, in September 1867, preceding the coming of the Union Pacific Railroad by approximately 60 days. The town itself was then only three months old. The first issue of the city's pioneer newspaper, the Cheyenne Leader, announced the troupe with the comment, 'A general desire to witness theatrical performances renders their arrival very welcome just now.' Eleven days later the Leader reported: 'A Mr. King and a Mr. Metcalf from the theatre at Julesburg, Colo., are making preparations to offer Cheyenneites first-class entertainment in the histrionic art.'

Accordingly a building some 80 by 26 feet was thrown together in less than a week, with 'parquet, dress circle, private boxes and all modern improvement.' This was called the King Theatre, and its career began with a variety entertainment, popular at that time, consisting of dramatic, minstrel, acrobatic, and vocal numbers.

In rapid succession came the Variety Theatre, Melodeon Hall, Beevaise Hall, the Theatre Comique, and other entertainment halls, which usually combined, under one roof, saloon, gambling house, and theater. In some instances all three were in one room.

From 1867 to 1882 Cheyenne supported six theaters that offered legitimate productions and at least 17 variety halls. There were undoubtedly more than 17 of the latter, but no record remains except of those that used newspaper advertising.

Although these early theaters were frequented chiefly by a conglomerate group of rough, restless, railroad workers, frontiersmen, gamblers, demimondaines, and outlaws, an effort was made by some of the theater managers to cater to all the citizens of the town. On December 7, 1867, the Melodeon announced that 'Ladies may now attend this place of amusement with impunity. The management is determined to preserve strict order and will allow no disreputable characters admis-

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Wyoming, a Guide to Its History, Highways, and People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction ix
  • Preface xix
  • Illustrations xxi
  • Maps xxv
  • General Information xxxi
  • Calendar of Annual Events xxxvii
  • PART I - Wyoming: Past and Present 1
  • Contemporary Scene 3
  • Natural Setting 11
  • Archeology and Indians 49
  • History 58
  • Transportation 79
  • Industry, Commerce and Labor 90
  • Agriculture 98
  • Education 109
  • Sports and Recreation 117
  • Folklore and Folkways 122
  • Literature 127
  • The Theater 137
  • Music 147
  • Art 155
  • Architecture 161
  • Part II - Cities 171
  • Casper 173
  • Cheyenne 183
  • Laramie 195
  • Sheridan 206
  • PART III - Tours 215
  • Tour 1 217
  • Tour 2a 251
  • Tour 2c 253
  • Tour 3 267
  • Tour 4a 292
  • Tour 4b 300
  • Tour 6 318
  • Tour 6a 339
  • Tour 7a 341
  • Tour 8 350
  • Tour 9 356
  • Tour 10 367
  • Tour 11 380
  • Yellowstone National Park 392
  • PART IV - Appendices 439
  • Chronology 441
  • Bibliography 449
  • Glossary 459
  • 1940 - Census Figures 467
  • Index 469
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