Local History Talk: The Music Hall
Tuesday August 22 | 7 – 8:30 PM
Portsmouth Public Library
Levenson Community Room
This library’s Local History series features authors and experts on local history topics. The series continues with Zhana Morris and Trevor Bartlett, authors of the book The Music Hall, Portsmouth (2003).
On Christmas Eve 1876, Portsmouth citizens watched flames reduce their largest meetinghouse and entertainment hall to ashes. During the following year, local families, businessmen, and craftsmen combined their resources to build a new auditorium with state-of-the-art lighting, rigging, staging, and seating-a comfortable venue for public addresses, charity functions, and international entertainment. The Music Hall, Portsmouth, was born. Twain spoke from her stage, Sousa’s brass echoed from her walls, and Edison’s films brought her silver screen to life. Enduring war, depression, and multiple threats of destruction, this grand hall today stands as New Hampshire’s oldest operating theater. Showcasing the world’s finest stage and screen talent, offering artistic education to young and old, and hosting fundraisers and private events, the Music Hall is a testament to the necessity of arts in local culture and the strength of a community’s resolve.
With the help of a team of volunteers, Trevor Bartlett, film series coordinator, and Zhana Morris, production manager, gathered and selected treasured images and artifacts from the Music Hall’s archives, local museums, and libraries for this book. These include original photographs, playbills, posters, and other theater memorabilia.