A derelict Vermont vaudeville palace — that once hosted luminaries as MAE WEST, Harry Houdini, and Jimmy Durante — underwent a $3.7 million renovation and will reopen this weekend with a production of "The Phantom of the Opera" performed by a local group.
• • Chairman of the theater restoration committee William Lockwood said the theater was built in 1927, after the first 1870 Town Hall burned down in 1925. The Bellows Falls Opera House had been booking variety acts before its conversion to a movie house.
• • Despite its original name — Bellows Falls Opera House — local historians said it was doubtful that the Colonial Revival structure was known for such high-class fare. It is believed that many of the earliest ticket-buyers were travelers, since folks had to change trains in Bellows Falls.
• • Where are the WOODCHUCKS? Shucks. A Vermont native is known as a "woodchuck."
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •