The famous Altoona Mishler Theatre is a century old community theater that has stood the test of time. It's a community theater that has gone through its share of ups and downs, including near destruction in 1906. Shortly after being built the Mishler Theatre opened on February 15, 1906, the beautiful theater was nearly destroyed by fire on October 19, 1906.
Isaac C. Mishler, also known as "Doc" in the Altoona PA area operated the Opera House on Eleventh Avenue. Isaac Mishler came to Altoona from Lancaster, PA in 1881. The Altoona Mishler Theatre was built by Isaac Mishler and after the fire he rebuilt his beloved theater and reopened it on January 19, 1907.
In the 1960s the Mishler Theatre came very close to being torn down. The community rallied and the venue, where the Governor of the Arts Award was held in 2000 and the Altoona Sesquicentennial celebration was held in 1999, has reached a milestone.
During the past four decades, the inside of the theater has been restored to much of its original look with the color scheme of green with gold, along with red and deep green curtains, new carpeting and upholstered seats. One of the touches that adds opulence to the Altoona PA Mishler Theatre is a chandelier, which was purchased in 1970 at a Metro-Golden-Mayor auction in Hollywood.
Major restoration started in the early 1990s with the Albert Michaels Gallery. In 1992 the ladies room and lobby were restored so people could get a sense of what was to come.
In 1997 the ceiling was restored, and in 1999 the interior the interior of the house was restored. Even the mural project was a tedious restoration. During the years the original mural was painted over and all the old paint had to carefully be removed and then touched up.
So far it's estimated that $1.8 million dollars has been spent in restoration so far. That isn't counting what is still needed to complete the job of restoring the second floor balcony heat and air conditioning, and the restoration of the opera boxes.
The Altoona Mishler Theatre is now as beautiful if not more beautiful than many of the Broadway houses.
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Altoona Mishler Theatre Marks 100th Anniversary
In 2006 the community celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the famous Mishler Theatre. It was a moment in time to honor a century of entertainment only a historical Pennsylvania landmark like this community theater can boast about.
In 1973 the Altoona PA Mishler Theatre was placed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places.
Jack Jones was the featured entertainer for this 100th Anniversary event. He is known as one of the top male vocalists of this century. He's famous for his songs, "Lollipops and Roses" and "Wives and Lovers", he also sang the theme songs on the TV show "The Love Boat".
There was a pre-show dinner held at "Michael's Café" located on 11th Avenue in downtown Altoona.
Through the years the theater has hosted some big names in entertainment in every form-professional and amateur theater, dance, music and movies.
Built in 1906, the Mishler Theatre was once host to all the great performers of the Vaudeville Theater. Great entertainment names like Sarah Barnhardt, Helen Hayes, magician Harry Houdini and more recently, stage and screen actress Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin and Betty Buckley have preformed on the Mishler stage. That is only a very small list of entertainers that have preformed at Altoona PA Mishler Theatre.
Today the theater hosts various community events including BCAF's Family Series, Altoona Symphony Orchestra concerts and performances by ACT, Blair Concert Corale, Allegheny Ballet Company and many other art groups.
The Altoona Mishler Theatre is a wonderful place not only in the history of American theater art, it's just a wonderful representation of the culture of this community.
If it weren't for the community, the Mishler Theatre wouldn't be here today.
Have you heard or read about the haunting tales at this historic Pennsylvania landmark? If you'd like to read the haunting testimonies and see the pictures I took that has many ghostly energy orbs at the Mishler Theatre just click on the link provided.
Isaac Mishler himself has been seen roaming through the theater many times by many people.
While visiting Altoona make sure you visit other famous historical Pennsylvania landmarks like the World Famous Horseshoe Curve and Baker Mansion.