Old Gem Theater is located in New Richmond Wisconsin, just under northeast of the Twin Cities. Gianna's (at-the-time) 5-year-old guarantees "That’s wasn’t so far, Mom!” Each season, the theater produces several kid-friendly plays and musicals -- both for the public and as school field trips. The theater experience will be enhanced by the building's vintage Art Deco decor, including original light sconces and murals.
History of Old Gem Theater
The building originally opened as a vaudeville house called The Gem in 1916. Over the years, it has shown silent films and movies. John F. Kennedy even made a campaign stop at this theater. In 2002, under new ownership, it became the Old Gem Theater as a venue for guest artists, performing arts education, and youth theater.
Find Shows and Classes
For upcoming information about classes visit Old Gem's website. Find Upcoming Shows along with reading recommendations on our Performing Arts Calendar. We love the fact that most of their plays are based on classic children's books. This is a great way to make reading time fun with an extra special outing after finishing the book.
While this show is past, Gianna's review below gives you a good idea what to expect from a visit to this New Richmond theater.
THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF - January 2014
Located about 14 miles past Stillwater, you will find New Richmond, Wisconsin--the home of the Old Gem Theatre. And the scene where you will find the well-loved Norwegian tale The Three Billy Goats Gruff being performed. You can get there via I-94 or on Highway 36 that turns into WI Highway 64 once you cross the St. Croix River.
When we drove into town, my 5 year old Dash said, "That's wasn't so far, Mom!"
The town is under 9,000 residents, but it's got a hidden treasury of theatrical talent. Kathy Welch and Rick Coleman are the artistic director and managing director respectively and bring incredible, artistic depth to this smallish community.
This weekend, they are presenting The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
With a cast of just 4 actors, and some help from the audience, Old Gem Theatre takes you into the life of a hungry rock 'n roll troll and three "magical" billy goats!This show has LOTS of audience participation. At least four times, there are opportunities for the audience to join the cast on the stage. And at least once the cast runs through the audience.
You will recognize a lot of the rock 'n roll oldies they sing although you may not know the words. "Goodness, Gracious, Great Goats on Fire."
"Well, I wonder, wonder, who who who who? Who wrote the book of Gruff."
It's a well-written script, the actors are very comfortable ad-libbing and working with an audience. They talk to the audience, hide behind the audience, use the audience, and goof around with the audience. The actors are genuinely nice people who really like you.
You won't want to miss this show. It is terribly engaging and you can't help but crack up at their puns and dry sense of humor. It's great for both parents and kids!
Published January 23, 2014
by Gianna Kordatzky