The Lessees & The Managers

Here is a record of those that managed Powers’ Opera House/Theatre.

1874William Thompson Powers – Owner and manager

May 1887William Henry Powers – Manager retires to focus on his highly successful Powers’ and Walker Burial Casket Company, located on the west bank of the Grand River, downtown Grand Rapids.

May 1887 – 1890  Fred Berger – Manager renames theatre, Powers’ Grand Opera House. Under his direction a new entrance is installed with Carriage Portico at the east end of the theatre building fronting Kent Alley.

1890 – 1892 Brady and Charles H. Garwood – Leesees with a 3-year lease cut short by the first fire in Nov 1892.

1892Joseph Willett Spooner – William T. Powers’ son-in-law married to his daughter, Mary Louisa (Powers) Spooner, is managing the Opera House at the time of the first fire in Nov 1892.

Nov 1901Orrin Stair – Manager; E. D. Stair and C. J. Whitney – Lessees

Sep 1902–1903Col. James M. Wood – He worked on a few of the renovations including lowering the theatre to the ground floor in 1883 and the final rebuild of the theatre after the fire of November 1901. Afterwards in 1902 he became the threatre’s manager and lessee. It is uncertain if his death in 1903 was the cause of his departure from managing Powers’.

1903 – 1925 Harry G. Sommers and Company 22 years would prove to be the longest single company to manage Powers’ Theatre, through it’s most successful seasons including the beginning of it’s record breaking resident stock theatre…

1933 – 1938 Emmitt Goodrich managed Powers’ Theatre, through the end of live performances…

It would sit dark during WWII years (yet to be determined)

1944 – 1972 Jack Loeks Enterprises leases and managed as Foto News 1944 – 1948 and then renamed it Midtown Theatre from 1948.

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