The Grand Opera House opened its doors on August 9, 1883 with the production of 'The Bohemian Girl' by the C.D. Hess Opera House Company. William Waters, a local architect, was chosen to design the new opera house. Waters had designed over 100 buildings in Oshkosh, including the public library and museum. Theatergoers experienced lavish and modern Victorian design, from the hand-painted drop curtain to the elaborately detailed wall and ceiling artistry of local artist J. Frank Waldo. Roman influences, evident in the huge curved ceiling beams and columns rising up on either side of the proscenium, combined with the Queen Anne style in the auditorium, reflected the opulence of the era. Although the official capacity of the new theater was 921, additional chairs could comfortably accommodate crowds of more than 1,000 people. 'Jump seats,' which folded out from the walls and from the ends of the seats, brought the total possible seating capacity to 1,224.
Continue Reading: Early Years