MARLINTON, WV (WVNS) — Appalachia is rich with culture including history and the arts — even in more rural places like our own Pocahontas County.
Built in 1910 in the height of the rich lumber railroad boom, the Opera House thrived for 6 years. But as the railroad moved on, so did the people. It wasn’t until 1991, that the Pocahontas County Historic Landmarks Commission bought the building with hopes of bringing the hub of culture back to Marlinton. It wasn’t an easy feat as Operations Manager Brynn Kusic discovered.
“..A lot of people thought that it would never happen. And I found letters that one of the people who led the restoration effort sent to Charleston saying we want to turn this theater into a performing arts center for Pocahontas County. And they said well that’s a really nice idea but the most rural county in West Virginia doesn’t need and cannot support a performing arts center.”
Fast-forward to 2022, the Opera House continued to shine with stunning performances from around the nation, community theatre efforts, and even a murder mystery event. And while Covid-19 hit the opera house hard, just like before, it came roaring back with great success as Kusic said.
“Our 2022 / 2023 season has been really amazing because we’ve had more shows than we’ve ever had in one year. We had about 19 performance series events due to the fact that the Opera House had to be closed for about a year and a half during the pandemic.”
While the 2022/2023 season comes to an end this Saturday there is still one more opportunity this year to experience this gem in the mountains with a special show.
“Michael Winograd and the Honorable Mentshn is deemed as one of the hottest klezmer groups in Brooklyn, New York. So we’re thrilled that they’re making their way down to West Virginia for a show at the Opera House that will be on April 29th.” -Brynn Kusic, Operations Manager – Pocahontas County Opera House
The special season-ending show coincides with the Great River Race Triathlon happening the same Saturday in Marlinton. As for the future of the Pocahontas Opera House, Kusic is in high hopes for next season:
“It’s funny that I would find it surprising, but it just comes together. And we have these incredible seasons. And after every season, I think. Could we possibly do this again? And I am here to tell you that I feel confident that our upcoming season is going to be as good, if not better, than every season we’ve had here before.”
Tickets for this Saturday’s show are still available via the Opera House website or at the 4th Avenue Gallery in Marlinton. For more information via phone, dial (304) 799-6645.
For more on what’s to come for the 2023/24 season, including a 59News exclusive special sneak peak, the Summer Discovery Junction planned events with returning special guest, and more with Operations Manager Brynn Kusic, be sure to catch our extended interview.