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Usher Orientation: How to Become a Phantom

November 16th 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm


By Kathy King Johnson

When you come to the Opera House for any performance, you will be greeted by a smiling face, a kind person dressed in black and white. That person will hold the door for you, send you the right way on the great maze that is the Opera House, find your tickets at Will Call, answer your questions, direct you to your seats and light the way for you should you have to get up during a performance. Your safety and comfort are their greatest concerns.

These are the men and women of Northern Michigan, polite, hardworking and extraordinarily dedicated to the Opera House. They come from miles around in the worst of weather, dressed in suits and dresses, shoes shined and pants pressed, to volunteer as ushers at the Opera House. They are known as the Phantoms.

Phantoms are quiet and unobtrusive. In fact, they are so unobtrusive, I can’t find any pictures of them for this article. You might never even notice them, but you probably know them. They stand tall and do not lean against the walls. They are never in the way but never out of the way. Some of them, like Ben Lilley and Alice Barron, have ushered at the Opera House for decades. Rosetta Humphrey told me she stopped ushering when she was 92. But she still comes to the Opera House for the shows.

How long has this great tradition been around? As long as the Opera House has held shows, from 1877, the best of our community have dedicated their time to helping the patrons of the Opera House, guaranteeing us safe transport to the magical world of lights, theater and music.

If you would like to become a Phantom, please attend the orientation this week.

NEW USHER ORIENTATION - from 6 to 7:30 p,m. on Thurs. Nov. 16. There will be an Orientation meeting for anyone interested in becoming an Usher at the Cheboygan Opera House. This is for new ushers only.

In addition to the joy of volunteering and the honor of serving, Phantoms also get the best seats in the House to the finest entertainment in Cheboygan. Please join us.




The Nutcracker



History of the Opera House

The Opera House, originally constructed in 1877, played an important role in the history of the colorful lumbering era in Northern Michigan. Twice ravaged by fires and rebuilt in 1888 and 1903, the facility now harmoniously houses its original combination of City Hall, Police Department, Fire Department and the 582 seat Opera House. In 1984, after having been closed for some twenty years, the elegantly restored Opera House re-opened its doors to the public once more. Managed by the Cheboygan Area Arts Council, with the support of The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, this acoustically superb, Victorian theatre has become the focal point for entertainment and the performing arts in the Straits of Mackinaw area and beyond.

Cheboygan Area Arts Council Mission Statement

The Mission of the Cheboygan Area Arts Council is to promote and encourage cultural and educational activities within the Straits Area of Northern Michigan, and to provide services that stimulate and encourage participation and appreciation of the arts within all segments of the community.