WEST POINT — The West Point Community Theatre is again looking up.
Way up. It is backstage. Behind the curtains — to the 40-foot-high fly tower above the stage.
The historical 1911 building retains the curtain system of the 20th century when curtains were pulled straight up. Thus, the fly tower building roof was higher over the stage area.
Up in the rafters where the “Phantom of the Opera” hung out, curtains went up and down with a human-powered pulley system balanced with counterweights. The weights took up backstage space and created a safety hazard.
This outdated system is being reconstructed and replaced with electric motors. The 27-foot movie screen was an addition to the longtime stage curtains.
Vaughan Beed, chairman of the theater’s board of directors, said work is directed by professional Heartland Scenic Studio of Omaha in conjunction with MS Construction of West Point.
The four corner wooden beams of 1911 that extended from the basement to the top of the fly tower were replaced with a metal structure. New ropes replace the ropes of a hundred years ago to pass rigging inspectors.
Theater enthusiast Jerry Hugo said an interestingly sidelight are the walls and ceiling.
They extend high. And just as removing paint and wallpaper 10 years ago led to remnants of the hidden past, the tower holds past history also.
“This work in progress is the last phase of theater conversion bringing it into a state-of-the-art building — a Northeast Nebraska jewel,” Hugo said.
By climbing the back stage wooden ladder to the catwalk inscriptions along the way, one can find a 1914 date with signatures on the upper walls.
One of the upcoming events is “Tons of Money,” which is the fall production. The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m., with doors open and social one hour prior on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9, and Nov. 15-16. The Sunday afternoon matinee on Nov. 10 begins at 2 p.m.
The three-act, fast-moving 1920s era hilarious farce is directed by local Logan Hoyt and produced by Cindy Hugo.
Other upcoming events at the theater include the West Point-Beemer one-act high school play, and on Saturday, Dec. 14, the Fremont Pathfinder Chorus.
Movies are held every weekend, with the free documentary “Indie Lens Pop” shown on Monday, Nov 18.
The “Sound of Music” will be the West Point Community Theatre’s 2020 spring musical.