Theatre Albany rich in local history

ALBANY, Ga. -- How time flies when you're having fun. Theatre Albany is 80 years old, and director, Mark Costello, recently recounted some early history for members of the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County.

"It began in 1932," Costello said, citing a record compiled by Louise Whiting, "as an outgrowth of the George Washington Pageant presented by the Albany Women's Club."

According to Costello, it was after that event a small group of interested persons went to the City Commission and received permission to use the Municipal Auditorium. In the first 12 months, the organization known as "The Little Theatre League" produced three plays. The first was "Children of Earth." Through later years the group changed it's name to The Little Theatre Players, Albany Little Theatre and finally to its present name.

"Many people still refer to us as The Little Theatre. We'll answer to that. Just give us money," Costello joked.

Beginning in 1934, the group was housed in what had been the old "Odd Fellows" building on the corner of Jackson Street and Pine Avenue, Costello said. The structure had four dressing rooms as well as a prop closet and ticket office.

Theatre Albany purchased its current home at 514 Pine Ave. in 1964. Built in the 1850's, the brick building was originally the home of John A. Davis, one of the city's leading citizens.

According to Costello, the age of the building, while an attraction in itself, requires a considerable amount of upkeep. To provide some of the needed funds, Theatre Albany is presenting a Valentines' Day celebration of "The Diary of Adam," a musical adaptation from the work of Mark Twain. Tickets are $40 per person or $70 per couple The two performances are on February 14 and 15 Theatre Albany. Dinner is included and begins at 6:30 p.m.

The theater's current production -- "Getting Frankie Married -- and afterward," by Horton Foote, who also wrote "Trip to Bountiful" and the screenplay adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- has a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. today and continues with performances Thursday through Feb. 10.