Dedication of Woodstock Opera House stage to honor Orson Welles set for February 10
The stage of the Woodstock Opera House will be dedicated in honor of Orson Welles next month.
The ceremony will take place on February 10 at 2 p.m., according to Woodstock Celebrates, Inc., which is planning events to honor Welles in 2014 and 2015. The nonprofit group spearheaded the dedication effort.
The Woodstock, Illinois, City Council voted unanimously on November 6, 2012 to place a plaque on the 124-year old opera house stage. It will read: “Orson Welles first mined the vein of his golden talent in Woodstock as a student at Todd School for Boys. In 1934, at 19, he made his American debut as a professional theater director upon this stage, now named in his honor.”
During the November meeting, Councilor RB Thompson noted that Woodstock needed to celebrate its rich history. Mayor Brian Sager commended Woodstock Celebrates for working to elevate and recognize Welles' history.
Under the direction of mentor Roger Hill, headmaster of Woodstock’s Todd School for Boys, Shakespearean plays starring Welles and Michael MacLiammoir were performed at the opera house during the summer of 1934. That same year, Welles shot his first film, an eight-minute short "The Hearts of Age," in Woodstock.
Although born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Welles expressed a deep fondness for Woodstock. "I have lots of homes … I suppose its Woodstock, Illinois, if it’s anywhere. I went to school there for four years, and if I think of home, it’s there."
He added, "It may be a tedious cliché to say that school days are the happiest days of your life, but Roger Hill and his staff were so unique, and the school so imbued with real happiness, that one could hardly fail to enjoy oneself within its boundaries."
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