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-