Mother Lode stage

Many singers, dancers, actors and musicians have graced the Mother Lode stage.

This summer, the Mother Lode Theatre will be offering free tours of the historic theater, one of Montana’s iconic theaters, at 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, or by appointment. 

The theater is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walk-ins welcome. 

Built in 1923 by the Masonic Bodies to conduct their services, but by 1929 the Masons converted and leased the theater as a movie house that operated under names that included the Fox and Bow Theaters.  

Whether it was called the Bow, the Fox, or the Mother Lode, the theater has played host to numerous plays and concerts, and a number of entertainers have graced its stage.

In the midst of World War II, A-list actors Joan Leslie, Walter Pidgeon and Adolph Menjou were at the Fox on Sept. 10, 1942, to encourage residents to buy war bonds. The following month, Sonja Henie, John Payne and Jack Oakie were back on the same stage to made similar pleas.

Sylvia Sidney portrayed Jane Eyre in 1944, and that same year, legendary actress Ethel Barrymore wowed the crowds in “The Corn is Green.”

Harpo Marx had theater-goers laughing Oct. 23, 1950, with his stand-up show, “Harpo’s Concert Bazaar.” Louis Armstrong performed June 7, 1951, with the main floor ticket costing $3. Tex Ritter, along with his Western Swing Band, took to the stage July 12, 1956. The event coincided with the release of his film, “The Devil’s Trail.”

In the 1990s the theater was donated to the City of Butte and in 1996, after renovations, the theater was renamed Mother Lode Theatre and is now leased and managed by the Butte Center for the Performing Arts, a non-profit organization, to serve as a venue for the Mother Lode Series, Butte Symphony, Butte Community Concert Series, Orphan Girl Children’s Theatre, and other local and national shows

For more details, contact the theatre at 406-723-3602.

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