Elvis will be in the building when Fremont Opera House launches a new season of shows.
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and other showstoppers will fill the opera house’s 2019-2020 season, which includes Fremont natives and local favorites.
Fremont Opera House President Lee Meyer said she is enthused about this year’s lineup, along with the start of monthly luncheons.
All activities are designed to provide entertainment for the community, while raising funds for a local landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We’re really excited about our season,” Meyer said. “We think it will please just about everyone. It’s a nice variety of entertainment.”
And the group is trying something new this year — lunches every second Wednesday of the month. These lunches will start at noon at the opera house, located at 541 N. Broad St.
“We will offer entertainment and a lunch for $15,” Meyer said.
The first lunch — set for Sept. 11 — will include a special invitation to local first-responders, police officers, firefighters and sheriff’s officials.
Those who plan to attend must RSVP by Sept. 2 by calling 402-720-2332 or visiting the Fremont Opera House’s website.
First-responders will receive a free lunch. For everyone else, the cost is $15.
Opera Omaha will provide special entertainment which will include patriotic music, Meyer said. Local entertainment is planned each month and lunches last 60 minutes.
“We’ll get them in and out in an hour so they can get back to work,” Meyer said.
Meyer said she looks forward to the lunches and the new season.
“The board has done a lot of research and found entertainment that includes a variety of people,” she said.
Season tickets are available on the opera house’s website or by calling 402-720-2332. Season tickets cost $80 for an individual or $150 for a couple. A ticket for an individual show is $20.
“It really is a big savings if you buy the season,” Meyer said.
All shows, except the Elvis performance, start at 7 p.m.
Dates and entertainers include:
Sept. 27 – Elvis Rock ‘N’ Remember Tribute.
- Joseph Hall is a preeminent Elvis impersonator in the Midwest, Meyer said. He performs in Branson and has been at the Eagles Club in Fremont. He’ll perform at the Nebraska State Fair on Sept. 2. Hall’s website states that he starred on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in 2008, making six TV appearances, viewed by more than 90 million people and placing as one of the top 10 finalists. “People really love him,” Meyer said. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the family friendly show are $20, available via the website, opera house number or at Sampter’s clothing store in downtown Fremont.
Oct. 19 – Paul Haar Sax Quartet.
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- The Fremont native and his protegees will play a variety of music. Haar is associate professor of saxophone and director of jazz studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and South America. Haar has performed with a host of renowned jazz musicians including Grammy nominee Toshiko Akiyoshi and has backed such personalities as Lou Rawls, Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight and the Temptations. His parents owned Harr’s restaurant in Waterloo for years.
Nov. 22 – Big Red Sam Piano.
- This singer, pianist and comedian helps get attendees ready for the Nebraska football game. Shows involve a sing-along. This will be the tailgate party for the UNL football game the next day. “It’s going to be a really fun evening,” Meyer said.
Feb. 15 – Aaron Shoemaker, family entertainer.
- As part of the opera house’s outreach to children, Shoemaker presents a free afternoon concert for them at 2 p.m. with the adult performance at 7 p.m. Shoemaker is a founding member of the wedding band Something Blu. He has created a kids program called Kids Rock and also performs for retirement communities.
April 16-18, 2020 – “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”
- Meyer will direct the Fremont Community Players in this comedy.
May 2, 2020 – Mark Vyhlidal and The Happy Players.
- Vyhlidal’s band has played waltzes and polkas for years, broadening its repertoire to include big band, country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Band highlights include performing in Las Vegas, performing on the Garrison Keillor Public Radio Show and having his band selected by the Smithsonian Institute to be on their national recording “Deeper Polka,” the band’s Facebook page states.
The Happy Players feature young Fremonters who specialize in polka music. They’ve performed at a host of events, restaurants and care centers, the Fremont Friendship Center, St. Patrick’s Fun Festival and the opera house. They were also invited to play at the 50th Annual National Polka Festival in Ennis, Texas. “They’re very good and they have their own following,” Meyer said. Brats and beverages will be served that night.
Proceeds from the events will be used to support the opera house.
Meyer also invites businesses and individuals to provide support for the historic building and the activities that take place there.
“We would like any businesses or individuals to help sponsor any of these activities — whether it’s the season we’re producing or our monthly luncheons,” she said.
Right now, the opera house could use a marquee, estimated to cost $5,000. It would be situated near the building. Also needed is outdoor lighting, estimated to cost about $6,000.
Both would draw attention to the building and events so people realize it’s being used and is thriving, Meyer said.
Those wanting to help with a donation may contact the website or call.
“The opera house is really a gem in the middle of our city and we have to keep the lights on and the heat going and we want to bring entertainment at a reasonable cost to everyone in our community and the surrounding area,” Meyer said.
Formerly called the Love Larson Opera House, the tall, brick building had its grand opening performance on Dec. 14, 1888.
In the mid-1970s, the opera house became the first building in Fremont to join the National Register of Historic Places.
A variety of entertainment has taken place here throughout the years. The building also is rented out for events such as weddings, business meetings and Christmas parties.
Eventually, plans are to renovate the top floor of the opera house, where the original performance space, including a stage and balcony is located.