“Show Boat” was the one of the most popular musicals ever made. And it all started when writer Edna Ferber fell in love with the floating theater in Bath, NC in 1925.
What a grand commotion, what a joyful noise to hear once a year sometime between March and November: the low thrumming of a pair of tugboats guiding a huge floating theater up the river — your river — their engines echoing up streams and through lowland swamps well in advance of their arrival. You saw the heralds, the handbills, in advance — you knew it was on the way, bringing a week’s worth of shows to a landing near you.
This year marks the centennial of the first season of the now legendary North Carolina-built James Adams Floating Theatre, a 700-seat maritime music-and-melodrama hall, put together like a gigantic houseboat in (Little) Washington, NC in 1913, and set off trouping for the first of its 28 seasons in 1914.
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