Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake holds true to its original purpose as a gathering place for the community. Built in 1910, the opera house remains a symbol of the history that has already passed through Green Lake, and since its extensive remodeling and grand reopening in the summer of 1998, it is a ready participant in the history that is yet to come.
Thrasher Opera House has been serving Green Lake and the surrounding communities since Charlie Thrasher saw to it that there would be a place in town where many kinds of events could bring people together. The fact that the opera house was originally the hub of community activity is no surprise. When Charlie built it over a century ago, the facility hosted school dances, basketball games, town meetings, and town lectures. Before television and radio, the days of vaudeville brought traveling theatrical companies to Green Lake. As time evolved, so did the opera house.
Charlie operated his namesake opera house until 1939. However, by World War II the building languished into a warehouse and eventually fell into a severe state of disrepair, slated for condemnation. In 1994, Ron Hagstrom, a prominent real estate broker in Green Lake with a lifelong interest in broadcasting, music, and theatre, purchased the opera house and immediately began drawing up plans for a complete restoration. Rather than tear it down, he elected to bring Thrasher Opera House back to life.
The renovation was complete in 1997. Thrasher Opera House reopened that summer, hosting several artists for the annual Green Lake Festival of Music, a highly regarded summer series of classical concerts that now makes the opera house its home base. In 1998, Thrasher Opera House began presenting its own events, thereby reestablishing itself as home to community and cultural events. Registered on the National, State, and City Registers of Historic Places, Thrasher’s vision was realized. The community was once again enthralled with its opera house; children were laughing, and people gathered to listen, watch, and be entertained.
Since its reopening, Thrasher Opera House provides 50 to 60 nights each year of diverse programming that includes music and theatre performances, comedy, educational workshops for youth and adults, and school plays as well as community forums and debates. The opera house annually hosts two week-long residencies by the Missoula Children’s Theatre, each involving 55 to 60 area children, one in January and one in June. The opera house is also used for weddings, business meetings, fundraisers, movies, parties, memorial services, and other events limited only by the imagination of the public, thus continuing Thrasher Opera House’s important and historic function as a community gathering place where emotions and ideas are exchanged.
The 2019 season offers another year of high-caliber performers, including musicians The Barefoot Movement, Nicholas David, Velvet Caravan, JigJam, Skerryvore, Willy Porter, Albert Cummings, Session Americana, The Paul Thorn Band, Missoula Children’s Theatre, the improvisational comedy of The Second City, and more. Visit thrasheroperahouse.com for dates, times, and tickets.
Submitted by Thrasher Opera House .