History


Beginnings

In 1959, a group of seven energetic and brave citizens, interested in encouraging music and drama appreciation and improving the cultural status of the Franklin area, organized the Franklin Civic Operetta Association. This group consisted of Jack Harter, Marian J. Hoffman, Mrs. Lewis Judson, Mayor Guy Mammolite, Plumer McClintock, Frank O’Neil, and Roy Wolfe.

F.C.O.A.’s first stage was located on a cement slab, which originally was a base for one of the large oil tanks of the former Atlantic Refinery on Route 8 North. This outdoor space served F.C.O.A. for two years, after which operations were moved to George Shaw’s Red Barn on Route 322. In 1965,  road construction necessitated a move to the new Franklin Area High School Auditorium. Today’s home is the beautiful Barrow-Civic Theatre located in downtown Franklin at 1223 Liberty Street.

One of the goals of the founding members was for the association to own their own theatre space. This goal was always in the forefront as the Franklin High School, the old Voyager Inn, and the Franklin Club joined the list of hallowed F.C.O.A. venues.

The Kayton Theatre in 1947. The theatre was purchased by the Franklin Civic Operetta Association in 1989, renovated, and opened as the Barrow-Civic Theatre in 1993.


A Permanent Theatre

In 1989, the former Kayton Theatre came up on the auction block, and F.C.O.A. members saw an opportunity that could not be passed up. Board Chair, Mary Ann Richardson, a member since 1960, led the decision to pursue purchasing the Kayton and turning it into their new home. In a matter of six weeks, the Board of Directors raised $15,000 through personal contacts, and armed with the money in the bank, purchased the Kayton at the tax auction.

F.C.O.A. now owned a theatre, but in what state? Dilapidated, stripped of seats and lights, and the roof falling in, the challenge facing them was enormous. Then, in 1991, provenance shined on Civic through the generosity of Franklin native, Charles A. Barrow. Living in Arizona, Mr. Barrow contacted local resident, Lucille F. Hirsch, asking her advice on what worthy cause he could contribute to in his hometown. In the course of a conversation, F.C.O.A.’s theatre endeavor came up. After long discussions and plan sharing, F.C.O.A. was informed that Mr. Barrow would make a gift of 1.75 million dollars to the project.

F.C.O.A. sprung into action, hiring contractors and architects to design and build the new theatre. The Kiwanis Club of Franklin donated funds towards new seats and a new marquee. Another campaign was launched to raise the rest of the needed funds for a project totaling over two million dollars. Reconstruction began on the newly renamed Barrow-Civic Theatre in October 1992, under the supervision of Toby Saltarelli.

August 14, 1993 was a thrilling night as F.C.O.A. formally dedicated the new Barrow-Civic Theatre. With special guests Charles A. Barrow, Lucille Hirsch, and many others who contributed to their success, F.C.O.A. presented the musical 1776, celebrating the birth of a nation and the birth of a theatre.

Much fine talent has been uncovered in the area and afforded opportunities to utilize their talents, as well as learning many other aspects of theatre production under professional guidance and instruction. Many of the players double in the construction and painting of sets, handling of lighting and sound, designing and making costumes, and more. An average production involves about 50-70 people, including technical, stage and orchestra personnel.

Today, the Barrow-Civic Theatre is a premier performing arts venue with a year-round schedule of events.


Continued Growth

It’s been a long trip from the slab of concrete stage on Route 8 to the Barrow-Civic Theatre, a state of the art entertainment complex. F.C.O.A.’s mission remains strong and clear: to provide leadership and education in cultural development and performing arts to the region, striving to create a legacy of quality entertainment by tapping the resources of all age groups, and encouraging the pursuit of artistic talents.

F.C.O.A.’s ideas and goals continue to grow. Today, the Barrow-Civic Theatre hosts a wide variety of events year-round, including plays, musicals, concerts, fundraisers, community events, educational workshops, a very popular youth theatre program, and more. See what’s happening now.

 


History of F.C.O.A. Productions

 

1959
Matinee Memories
Broadway After Dark

1960
The Dancing Dandy

1961
The Red Barn Revue
Melba, The Toast of Pithole

1962
The King and I
The Waif
The Boyfriend

1963
Showboat
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Bye Bye Birdie

1964
South Pacific
Carousel
Oklahoma!

1965
Brigadoon
My Fair Lady
Music Man

1966
The Sound of Music
The Student Prince

1967
The King and I
How to Succeed in Business
Without Really Trying

1968
Annie, Get Your Gun
On A Clear Day
Oliver!

1969
The Mikado
Camelot
Sweet Charity

1970
H.M.S. Pinafore
West Side Story

1971
I Do, I Do
Oklahoma!
A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Forum

1972
A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Forum
Carousel
Lil’ Abner

1973
1776
Music Man
Arsenic and Old Lace
A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Forum

1974
The Boy Friend
Fiddler on the Roof

1975
Damn Yankees
Applause

1976
1776
June Review

1977
The Sound of Music
Anything Goes

1978
June Review
My Fair Lady
A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Forum

1979
June Review
The Fantasticks
Irene

1980
Portrait in Oil
Pippin
Shenandoah

1981
Jenny, The Mail Order Bride
The All-American
A Little Night Music

1982
I Do, I Do
Camelot
Deadwood Dick

1983
25th Anniversary Show
Little Mary Sunshine
Something’s Afoot

1984
June Review
Promises, Promises
Dracula

1985
June Review
110 in the Shade
A Day in Hollywood
A Night in the Ukraine
Saloonkeeper’s Daughter

1986
Annie
Pure as the Driven Snow
1940’s Radio Hour

1987
May Revue
Hello, Dolly
Woman in White

1988
30th Anniversary Revue
Guys and Dolls

1989
Hooray for Hollywood
Little Shop of Horrors
Mame
Baby
Les Misérables Revue

1990
Nunsense
Music Man
Drood
Amahl
Double Feature II & Phantom Revue

1991
Shenandoah
Carousel
I Do, I Do
Something’s Afoot

1992
Godspell
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Gypsy
Once Upon a Mattress

1993
1940’s Radio Hour
Talley’s Folly
1776
A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Forum

1994
Nunsense II
Love Letters
Applause
Driving Miss Daisy
Deadwood Dick
Deathtrap

1995
Jerry’s Girls
Blithe Spirit
Oklahoma!
We Shook the Family Tree
Portrait in Oil
A Grand Night for Singing
Oliver!

1996
Haunting of Hill House
CIoser Than Ever
The King and l
Harvey
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Scrooge

1997
1996 Review & 1997 Preview
The Chase
Forever Plaid
Godspell
42nd Street
No Sex Please, We’re British
Forever Plaid
The Sound of Music
It’s A Wonderful Life
Mid-Summer Nights Dream
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Funny Money
South Pacific
A Christmas Carol

1998
Dinner Theatre and Casino Night
The Mouse Trap
The All Night Strut
My Fair Lady
Quilters
Brigadoon
Inherit The Wind
West Side Story
Anniversary Gala
Noises Off
Fiddler on the Roof
The Gift of the Magi
A Christmas Carol

1999
Ten Little Indians
Dinner Theatre and Casino Night
Jesus Christ, Superstar
Back to Bacharach
And David
Forever Plaid
Crazy For You
The Music Man
Here Come the Brides
Annie
Dracula
Handel’s Messiah

2000
My Fair Lady
Sleeping Beauty
Ah, Wilderness
Show Boat in Concert
Damn Yankees
The Wizard of Oz
Handel’s “Messiah”

2001
Gershwin Concert
The Importance of Being Earnest
Grease
Man Who Came To Dinner
Music Man
Cabaret
Handel’s Messiah

2002
Alice in Wonderland
Secret Garden
Patriotic Music Revue
Once Upon A Mattress
Lend Me A Tenor
Forever Plaid
Babes In Arms
Camelot
Handel’s Messiah

2003
Barefoot in the Park
Cinderella
Mame
Clue
Handel’s Messiah

2004
Nunsense II
Moon Over Buffalo
Pajama Game
Pack of Lies
Titanic the Musical

2005
A Few Good Men
The Annual Patriotic Revue
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Don’t Dress for Dinner
South Pacific
Handel’s Messiah

2006
The Hollow
A Night at Big Daddy’s
Big the Musical
The Annual Patriotic Revue
Plaza Suite
Guys and Dolls
It’s a Wonderful Life

2007
The Lion in Winter
Fiddler on the Roof
Wonderful Town
Scrooge
Handel’s Messiah

2008
50th Anniversary Concert
And Then, There Were None
1940’s Radio Show
A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Forum
Noises Off
The Sound of Music
The Wizard of Oz

2009
Forever Plaid
To Kill a Mockingbird
Kiss Me Kate
The Odd Couple
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
A Christmas Carol
Handel’s Messiah

2010
Pump Boys & Dinettes
The Miracle Worker
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
The Foreigner
Peter Pan
White Christmas

2011
Romeo & Juliet
Annie
Suessical the Musical
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Children of Eden
A Christmas Story

2012
Titanic the Musical
The Graduate
Legally Blonde
Rumors
Oliver!
Miracle on 34th Street

2013
The Diary of Anne Frank
Oklahoma!
Les Misérables
The Drowsy Chaperone
Steel Magnolias
The Chistmas Post

2014
The Importance of Being Earnest
Godpsell
How to Succeed in Business
Without Really Trying
Chicago
Lend Me a Tenor
A Christmas Carol

2015
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Shrek the Musical
The Fantasticks
Mary Poppins
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

2016
Charlotte’s Web
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Into the Woods
You Can’t Take It With You
Disney’s The Little Mermaid
Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings

2017
The Great Gatsby
Young Frankenstein
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Blithe Spirit
Willy Wonka
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Handel’s Messiah

2018
Little Women
Little Shop of Horrors
Big Fish
Noises Off
The Producers
1776: B.C.T. 25th Anniversary Concert
A Christmas Story: The Musical