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Rochester Opera House, a not-for-profit organization, presents a full performance season of shows for adults, families, students and teens. Built within City Hall in 1908, this historic theatre is only remaining theatre with a mechanism that lowers/levels the orchestra floor. With the floor leveled, the theatre transforms into a dance/night club with cabaret seating for Broadway musicals and Dance Parties. Thousands of theatre patrons travel to the Rochester Opera House from over six-hundred cities and towns in New England and beyond.
Our mission is to fill our patrons' hearts and souls with joy through entertaining, enlightening and educational programming developed with an Arts for All philosophy and to preserve our historic theatre as a cherished legacy for our children and grandchildren.
Our vision is to continue to grow as a premier regional performing arts venue, to offer our stage for community events and to shine as our community's most precious jewel, while positively impacting the lives of our patrons and the economic health of our downtown.
Concerts and performances by acclaimed international and national artists as well as professional, regional and local artists. Past shows include LeAnn Rimes, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Pink Floyd tribute The Machine, Natalie MacMaster, Asleep At The Wheel, Crystal Gayle, Comedian Bob Marley, Little Feat’s Bill Bayne with Truffle, Motor City Fever, The Grateful Dead’s Vince Welnick, and The Corvettes Doo Wop Revue.
Symphony, plays, concerts, dance, music and comedy for families and children. With affordable ticket prices, performances offer families and children a community gathering space to enjoy a live arts experience. Shows include the Strafford Wind Symphony, Broadway musicals and plays, Northeast Dance, magic shows and Teens Rock Rochester.
Our award-winning Theatre Series includes Broadway musicals and plays for all ages. Presented by ROH Productions, we contract with over 250 regional professional actors, directors, choreographers and musicians. Some of these productions are flat-floor shows that feature cabaret seating.
Contained within the Theatre Series are five programs:
- Mainstage Theatre: Broadway musicals and plays for adults.
- Family Theatre: Broadway musicals and plays for families and children.
- Arts & Education: Broadway musicals and plays attended as field trips by regional school systems.
- Youth Theatre Company: Musicals presented by student actors, musicians and technician apprentices
- Rochester Community Players: Musicals and plays presented by amateur actors and technicians.
Dance Party Series
Orchestra seats are removed and the floor is leveled to make way for dancing to all types of bands from country to rock and roll. Past shows include Motor Booty Affair, AC/DC tribute Dirty Deeds, Grateful Dead tribute Half Step, Sock Hop with DJ Gary James, and Gazpacho.
Rochester Opera House introduces one of the largest movie screens (28 x 17.5) in the area to present popular movies and, in partnership with the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts, to showcase the best of independent films by innovative, award-winning filmmakers from around the globe.
Civic Events in City Hall/Opera House combinations, designed at the turn of the last century, became "a special object of civic pride, the very pulsating center of the community" and ROH continues that tradition today. ROH is also the stage for local and national political events, mayoral inaugurals, fundraising events for not-for-profit organizations and graduations.
Summer Theatre Camp
A joyous hands-on theatre experience for children ages four and up. Our program, offering all levels of training in theatre techniques, is a great opportunity for children around the region to dance, sing, learn and grow on the stage at our grand historic theatre. On the final day of each camp, students showcase their skills with an evening performance for family, friends and the public.
The new Rochester City Hall and Opera House combination was revealed to the public on Memorial Day 1908. Well-known architect and Rochester native George Gilman Adams designed a magnificent theatre with stunning architectural details, including a horseshoe balcony, grand proscenium, intricate stenciling, and near-perfect acoustics. Adams invented a unique mechanism that raises the auditorium floor at an incline for amphitheater seating or levels the floor for dancing.By 1984 the Opera House, an "elegant new theatre" and source of civic pride in 1908, lay in ruins. No one remembered how to operate or where to locate the floor mechanism. No one remembered the intricate stenciling and murals hidden behind layers of paint. The community dream to restore this once shining community treasure seemed impossible.In 1996 Mayor Harvey E. Bernier, Jr. launched the Rochester Opera House Restoration Project. The dream became reality with a monumental, mainly volunteer, community effort for which the City of Rochester received the 1997 Governor's Award in the Arts for Community Spirit. The Rochester Opera House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the only remaining theatre of its kind with a mechanism that raises/levels the orchestra floor.Explore the fascinating details and the twists and turns of fate of the Rochester Opera House and George Gilman Adams' intriguing mechanism.Learn more:The Dramatic, Sometimes Miraculous, Hundred Year Journey of the Rochester Opera House The Last Moving Floor In Action by Prof. Landis K. MagnusonMemories of the grand old Rochester Opera House - Rochester Courier, Tuesday, May 3, 1983Balcony Restoration Historic Mechanism Sings Like New! Enjoy a Video Tour of the Rochester Opera House