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Sterling Opera House ! 1889

Derby ! Connecticut

Living Connecticut’s History

They All Appeared

at the

Sterling Opera House

These celebrities and others C including comedian Red Skelton, composer John Philip Sousa and dancer Donald O’Connor C all appeared on the stage of the Sterling Opera House during its heyday as a vaudeville palace in Derby, Connecticut.

Renowned magician Harry Houdini once performed feats of magic and daring escapes at the Sterling. Aviatrix Amelia Earhart addressed the local Women’s Club here in 1936.

Lionel Barrymore C a legend of American theater C joined his famous relatives, John and Ethel Barrymore, in appearances at the Sterling.

Ex-heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan performed the role of Simon Legree in a Sterling Opera House production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and silent film-maker D.W. Griffith was so pleased with the reception his Birth of a Nation received in Derby that he used the theater to try out several of his subsequent films before their general release.

inside.JPG (19665 bytes) Violinist Harry Braun rehearses for the final show staged at The Sterling. The Theater was opened in 1889 and closed in 1933. It was briefly reopened in 1966 for Braun’s concert.

Photo Courtesy of the Derby Public Library (Cover Photos 8 Grolier Electronic Publishing. Danbury, Ct)

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