Onstage Splendor in the Piney Woods

When the sun goes down on the loblollies and waterways of the Piney Woods, you can take your trip indoors to marvel at the opulent architecture of one of the region’s historic theaters. And of course, your vintage view will come with a riveting performance from one of the hundreds of entertainers who pass through each year.

This area’s long, star-studded history of stage art started with an industrial and economic boom in the early days. With lumber, oil and gas bringing in big money, opera houses and theaters opened up shop in towns and communities across the woodlands to entertain the local lumberjacks and roughnecks. A night on the town included everything from vaudeville and theatrical dramas to silent films and eventually talkies – each on the cutting edge of its era of entertainment. Today, you can find tickets for everything from blockbuster movies to local playhouse theater on stages throughout the area.

One can’t-miss spot is the 1885 Opera House in the community of Henderson, which has been transformed into the modern Henderson Civic Theater. After hosting decades of community entertainment, it changed hands and was adapted for use as a mercantile. Now restored to serve its original function, you can grab a seat at one of its many dramatic or musical stage productions year-round. 

To continue your tour of local stage legends, stop by the Historic Select Theater. The Mineola community’s movie palace is one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in Texas. It opened in 1920, screening silent movies until talkies arrived and revolutionized the cinema experience. Today, the theater operates under the stewardship of the Lake Country Playhouse, a nonprofit organization providing a home for the performing arts in East Texas. The Historic Select entertains audiences with first-run movies, live performances and a spooky Halloween show known as the Warehouse of Terror, in which the theater is transformed into a haunted house. 

For more historical digs, head to the beautifully restored 1924 Perot Theatre in Texarkana, originally known as the Saenger. Recent Perot headliners have included the New York Philharmonic String Quartet and the Moscow Festival Ballet. 

And for some big-ticket entertainment with a hometown vibe, you’ll find musical headliners in the community of Linden. The historical town recently transformed its 1950 American Legion Auditorium into Music City Texas, a state-of-the-art performance space with a year-round schedule of musical events. Top names from past performances include Don Henley, Rodney Crowell and talent featured on the television show The Voice.

Make time for an evening of glitz and glamour at one of these majestic stage beauties. Whether you want to be moved by local stagecraft or cross a national headliner off your bucket list, you’re sure to find the perfect ticket for your night out in the Piney Woods.

 

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