Supporters of the Menominee Opera House, a community landmark, received a booster shot recently when the newly formed theater group tabbed Coastal Players performed at the historic showplace.

The “booster shot” we are referring to comes in the form of a much-needed shot-in-the-arm for the dedicated cadre of theater supporters who are determined to repair the old landmark and bring back movies and plays on a regular basis. It’s been a work in progress for years now but these heady supporters never give up.

The once-popular showplace, known for hosting topnotch artists traveling the circuit, has undergone numerous repairs and improvements in recent decades. It will continue hosting entertaining events on a much smaller scale than its glory years of the early 20th century.

The Coastal Players completed its inaugural performance of Jason Robert Brown’s musical “The Last Five Years.” The show went off after only one month of rehearsals. The show was under the direction of John Thornberry. According to Thornberry, the show was the first live theatrical production at the Opera House since a devastating fire on March 10, 1950 when the showplace was known as the Menominee Theater.

Brittany Welch founded the new theater company. She conceded that launching a separate theater company involved more challenges than she anticipated. Marketing, she admitted, was one of her biggest challenges. Thanks to social media, word spread about the group’s intentions.

But the theater group made its launch and in doing so collected a large support group of volunteers willing to pitch in and help the new company expand its base. Welch said she was grateful for the success of the first show and is looking forward to hosting more events.

The Menominee Opera House Company was incorporated as a stock corporation in August 1902. The first performance at the Opera House was Dec. 16, 1902, with the showing of “Prince of Pilsen.” The original structure had a seating capacity of 1,204, plus it had eight boxes for guests.

The city of Menominee acquired ownership of the structure in 1929. The city sold the property to Maurice E. “Mack” Cammack in 1947 for $15,000. Cammack, who also owned Bay View Bowling Lanes adjacent the Lloyd I building, updated the Opera House to accommodate movie followers. The city had a clause in the sale transaction that called for Cammack to open the theater building 20 nights a year for civic functions.

High school graduations and baccalaureate rites were conducted at the Opera House setting. The first minstrel shows put on by the Menominee Lions Club to benefit the introduction of a grade school sports program were also held there. Professional wresting shows likewise attracted large crowds to the premises.

The Vennema family deeded the property to the newly formed Menominee Opera House Committee in October 2004. The non-profit corporation is dedicated to restoring and operating it as a Performing Arts Center with the support of volunteers and private donations.

There’s much more to the impressive story of the Opera House since its beginning 117 years ago. Now new chapters are being written to add to its rich history.

Good luck to the Coastal Players group and its supporters and to the Menominee Opera House Committee and its hard-working roster of volunteer supporters and donors.