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Artistic History

Since 1981, the Opera House has collaborated with several existing area theater companies, also serving as an incubator for various area production companies now established in permanent homes, including O'Connell and Company, MusicalFare, and, more recently, Second Generation Theatre Company.

Lancaster Opera House Productions

Under the leadership of current Artistic/Executive Director David Bondrow, the Opera House revived its in-house production company with an acclaimed production of Damn Yankees. Bondrow wanted to expand the reputation of the Opera House as a presenter of concerts and shows from producing partners and outside entertainers. In keeping with the LOH mission to develop talent in the region, he hired a professional staff to join him in producing Broadway musicals and plays with a dedication to preserve the history and performance practice of this uniquely American art form. Damn Yankees was followed by productions of Oklahoma!, Promises, Promises, Two by Two, Fiddler on the Roof, Singin' in the Rain, The Glass Menagerie, Monty Python's Spamalot, My Fair Lady, Lend Me a Tenor,  A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum, and Godspell, as well as two original musicals (The Night Before Christmas and Detention of the Damned), written by two LOH orchestra musicians.

In 2017-2018, three outside producing partners join our in-house production company: the Lancaster Regional Players, Rocking Horse Productions, and Theatre of Youth.

The Lancaster Regional Players have been presenting plays in Lancaster, NY since the mid-1960's. Bowmansville Very Little Theatre, as it was called, was started by faculty members of various Lancaster district schools in 1964 and produced its first play in 1965. Various schools in the town have served as production venues, including Court Street School and Aurora Middle School. In the mid-1970s, the group changed its name to Lancaster Depew Community Theater and became involved in fundraising efforts to raise money for the renovation of the historic but long-abandoned theater nestled up on the second floor of the Lancaster Town Hall building.  In September of 1981, Lancaster Depew Community Theater produced the very first play in the newly renovated Lancaster Opera House, Egad the Woman in White, a melodrama in the spirit of the type of productions that would have been popular when the theater was first built in the 1800's. Membership is open to anyone wishing to participate in the excitement and camaraderie of the theater. For more information, check out the "Get involved" pages of their website: www.lancasterregionalplayers.org. or send them an email at lancasterplayers@gmail.com.

Rocking Horse Productions has been with the Opera House since 2006. Rocking Horse Productions is a locally owned theater group that has been presenting live theater in Western New York since its inception in 2006. They strive to develop local talent, giving equal chance to both seasoned and novice performers. To that end, RHP holds open auditions for all their theatrical productions. Under producer Douglas Kern's leadership, RHP's staff has many years of combined theater experience, and is dedicated to building an audience base that will support local theatrical programming. For more information on Rocking Horse Productions, please go to their website at www.rockinghorseproductions.net.

Theatre of Youth was founded in 1972 by Daemen College theatre instructors Rosalind Cramer and Toni Smith Wilson. What started as a small company of local actors working out of the theatre at Daemen College has grown into a cornerstone of the Buffalo Arts & Cultural community.  Housed permanently at the historic Allendale Theatre, TOY employs over 60 actors and craftsmen. Each season, more than 30,000 children attend TOY performances. Now parents who were touched by TOY during their childhood are returning with their own children, sharing in the joy of the theatre experience and taking the time to see the world through their children's eyes.  A wondrous experience and lifelong memories await you at Theatre of Youth!  For more information on TOY, please visit www.theatreofyouth.org.