The Great Sacandaga has a rich history in Theatre…
Sacandaga Park Rustic Theatre’s
From the Adirondack Inn a pathway highlighted by a sign of a log and branch with the words “Sacandaga Park” led to the Midway. The image of this log entrance became a favorite on postcards and souvenirs. Along the pathway people would pass the Dance Pavilion and arrive at the Rustic Theatre.
The Rustic Theatre was the only one of it’s kind in the area. Built in the late 1800’s in the Adirondack tradition of bark covered logs with the natural scenery of fir trees providing the backdrop. The theatre was also shared among the churches in Northville for Sunday morning services in the summer. School children’s end of the year plays would be performed there before the park opened in July.
A few of the summer performers in those early years were:
John Phillips Sousa: Sousa at the age of six was found to have absolute pitch. When Sousa reached the age of 13, his father, (a trombonist in the U.S. Marine Band) enlisted his son in the Marine Corps as an apprentice. Sousa served his apprenticeship for seven years, until 1875. Several years later, Sousa left his apprenticeship to join a theatrical (pit) orchestra where he learned to conduct.
The Sousa Band toured 1892-1931, performing 15,623 concerts. The most well known music of Souses’ was the “Stars and Stripes Forever” to which Sousa wrote lyrics, but they are not as familiar as the music itself.
Productions of the theatre also featured the J. W. Gorman’s Alabama Troubadours who toured the east coast during the late 1800’s.
Before the Civil War mixed casts of white and African American performers were forbidden by law in many parts of the U.S., but were secretly included in some white companies. After the Civil War, mixed and all-African American minstrel companies toured America and England. Most troupes were all male, using female impersonators in the skits. Both featured stereotyped caricatures rather than genuine depictions of African Americans, and were usually demeaning