Get the inside scoop on The Palace Theatre with free tours
Visitors on the annual free public tours of The Palace Theatre in Greensburg not only learn the theater’s history, but hear tales of its operation and other functions the venue serves.
“I think one of the things people enjoy the most is not just what they see, but what they hear. I tell a lot of stories,” says Teresa Baughman.
The theater’s director of operations and programming leads the tours the Westmoreland Cultural Trust is hosting.
“I’ve been here 24 years. I’m kind of the clearinghouse of (theater) history,” Baughman says. Reservations are not needed for the 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Sept. 7 tours, recommended for those age 10 and up.
Guests will learn of the theater’s origins as the Manos Theatre, which opened in 1926 as a vaudeville theater, through the early 1990s when the Trust purchased the venue.
Special architectural and artistic features will be explored, including the restored murals created by acclaimed Chicago artist Louis Grell, whose paintings depict fairy tales. “I also also do group tours on request, subject to availability. We’ve had Scout troops, church groups, Red Hat Society, the Westmoreland Photographers Society — they come in to shoot all of the wonderful architectural points,” Baughman says.
“Like Art Linkletter used to say, ‘Kids say the darnedest things,’” she adds.
Younger visitors may wonder about how many hours went into the theater’s construction, Baughman says, or share that a sibling has taken the stage in a “Nutcracker” or Stage Right performance.
“We have never charged. We want people to feel welcome to come. And maybe it helps them want to buy a ticket and come see a show. We get lot of first timers,” she says.
Tours include what Baughman calls “Tech 101,” when visitors learn about how things work on stage, from raising scenery to the color of lights.
“I get questions about how we get shows, how we price shows, how we put an offer together, ticket pricing,” she says. Visitors learn how costs including catering, limousine service, advertising, theater maintenance all affect ticket prices, along with a few interesting stories about performers.
Past and present
Baughman says doors will open at 9 a.m., and visitors can explore historical documents, photos and newspaper articles about the theater in the lobby prior to the tours.
The venue is ADA accessible, she adds.
“We’ve had a few weddings, some on stage, some in the mezzanine, some in Megan’s Suite. They are not as common as bridal and baby showers. We just booked a 16th birthday party, we’ve had anniversary and retirement parties,” Baughman says.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .