f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Little Theater Play: "The Silver Whistle"

Posted Wednesday, September 15, 2010, at 7:30 AM

Southeast Missourian Dec. 1, 1951

G.D. Fronabarger photographed the cast of "The Silver Whistle" at the Little Theater in Kent Library.

This scene shows Mr. Erwenter, played by John W. Martin, who is about to take his leave from the old people's home.

The Cape Girardeau Community Theater formally inaugurated Fine Arts Festival Week in Cape Girardeau with the three-act comedy.

Also shown in the picture are characters, Mrs. J.E. (Beulah) Riley and Miss Gladys Lesem, seated at table left; behind them, Mrs. Harry (Wanda) Nicholas; Earl Hazen, Mr. Martin, holding bird cage; Bob Wilcox manipulating wheel chair in which is seated Mrs. Gene (Becky) Van Matre; Bob Ready and Mrs. Don (Sue) McNeely. Looking over the wall is M.G. Lorberg Jr.

Rounding out the 15 characters were Prof. H.O. Grauel, C.W. (Bill) Trovillion, Gene Van Matre, John Rauh and Paul Loiseau.

[Editor's note: The printed caption above contains an error. According to Donna McNeely Burke, daughter of Don and Sue McNeely, "When this photo was taken in 1951 my mom wasn’t Mrs. Don McNeely yet; she was still Miss Suanne Harbison."]


The Cape Girardeau Community Theater was organized in 1951. This story appeared in the Southeast Missourian, Jan. 9, 1951:

Drama patrons to meet on Thursday

Time for the open meeting of the Cape Girardeau Community Theater has been set at 7:30 Thursday evening at Central High School. M.G. Lorberg Jr., temporary chairman, states that the meeting is open to all townspeople interested in dramatics.

Purpose of the organization, which is still more or less in an embryo stage, is to work with plays for more fun. Anyone who has dabbled in dramatics in high school or college, or has wanted to see what "the theater" is all about, is eligible to join.

Students enrolled at State College, because of the opportunities for stage experience there, are excluded, however, it was said.

Chairman Lorberg has appointed the nucleus of a constitutional committee, with vacancies to be filled later. Serving now are Ray Burneson, Mrs. Jo Ann Stevenson and Miss Hattie Eicholtz. Later, too, a permanent slate of officers will be elected, and a director for the first production chosen.

Already the group has tentatively scheduled its slapstick farce, the Broadway hit "Boy Meets Girl," for early April.

Although the Cape Girardeau Community Theater is not connected with State College, the administration is cooperating by granting permission for use of the Little Theater.

Southeast Missourian, April 27, 1951:

Lorberg is named

At its first meeting, held Thursday evening at the home of Mrs. A.L. Warwick, the executive board of the Cape Girardeau Community Theater drew lots to determine the terms of office for its members, elected officers, and then discussed future plans for the organization.

Serving three years will be Don McNeely, Raymond W. Burneson, and Miss Judith Ann Crow; two years, Wayne L. Thurman, Jerry McNeely, and Mrs. A.L. Warwick; one year, John Rauh, Jackson E. Dugdale and M.G. Lorberg Jr.

Mr. Lorberg, who has served as temporary chairman of the Community Theater since its organization last winter, was elected chairman. Mr. Rauh was elected to the vice-chairman's post, Mrs. Warwick will serve as secretary, and Miss Crow is treasurer.

Date for the next meeting was set for May 10, at 7:30, at Central High School. At that time, the executive board will present to the membership recommendations for future activities.

Editor's Note:

The Cape Girardeau Community Theater disbanded in 1959.

Its treasury of somewhat more than $100 was donated 10 years later to the Cape Girardeau Public Library.

Excerpt from Southeast Missourian, March 10, 1969:

Mrs. Robert Stiegemeyer, president of the library board, accepted the money on the library's behalf. Miss Judith Ann Crow made the presentation. It was explained that the money is to be used "for materials which would significantly augment the library's drama collection."

Minutes of the meeting at which the fund-disposition decision was made were read to the group; they pointed out that the money had been "earned from the community and should be returned to the community in some meaningful form which might at the same time provide lasting recognition of the place Community Theater has held in community life."

Mrs. Milburn Metje pointed out that Community Theater, and the interest it and other groups helped engender, are still reflected in the Chamber of Commerce allied arts committee.

Some of the productions by the group included "The Twelfth Disciple," "No, No, A Thousand Times No," "A Night in the Country," "Sabrina Fair," "Morning's at Seven," and "Gold in the Hills."


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  • Years ago that's how they were.

    -- Posted by howdydoody on Thu, Sep 16, 2010, at 9:06 AM