March 9, 2014Allen's Opera House
Located at 18 East Second Street
As early as 1875, citizens of the village of Jamestown enjoyed the finest entertainment available. Located at 14 Spring Street and later on East Third Street near Spring, Allen'’ Opera House presented vaudeville companies known for "general high character of attractions". Following a fire in 1881, a new structure was erected on this site.
Abner E. Allen was the proprietor in the early years. He never recovered financially from a devastating fire in 1894, and in 1898 he sold the theater to Charles Samuels, who continued the established tradition of excellence.
In 1919, the theater was acquired by the Shea interests of New York City, and after extensive and elegant refurbishing operated as Shea’s Theater. Vaudeville presentations were soon overtaken by motion pictures.
Little Theatre of Jamestown purchased the property in 1967 and dedicated the theater on April 18, 1968. One of the nation’s finest community theaters, it continues the high cultural tradition.
Among the outstanding artists who have appeared here were James O’Neill (father of Eugene O’Neill), W.C. Fields, Lillian Russell, Eva Tanguay, June Havoc and Gypsy Rose Lee as the child star team of "Dainty June and Company", Thelma Ritter, Boris Karloff, Ralph Bellamy, John Philip Sousa, Madame Schuman-Heinck, Gertrude Ederle, and the Pauline MacLean Stock Company. The orchestra pit could hold ten musicians.
ALLEN'S OPERA HOUSE
1881 Allen's Opera House 1898 Samuels Opera House 1919 Chea's Opera House/Theater 1968 Little Theatre of Jamestown