50 W. Main St., Wilmington, OH 45177(877) 274-3848
In a time when DVD's and cable television are the mainstay of entertainment, it's easy to forget what makes a live stage performance so special. Not only do the actors and actresses weave their spell over the audience, but it is the experience of being in a grand theater that adds to the ambiance as well. Clinton County is very fortunate to have a historic theater ight in its own backyard - The Murphy Theatre. Driving down Wilmington's Main Street reveals the first glimpse of the marquee of the Murphy Theatre, nostalgic of another era. Although the marquee has graced downtown Wilmington since 1918, it is merely a prelude to the wonderful experience that can be enjoyed upon entering through the theater's doors.Once in the Murphy's lobby, immediately visible are crystal chandeliers, tiled floors, and richly polished wood. If you close your eyes for a moment, you might be able to imagine what it was like on opening night, when 3000 people turned out for three separate performances. Upon entering the actual theater, the red upholstered seats await the audiences' arrival, as do the red velvet curtains that grace the stage. It's an exciting time on show night; you can feel it in the air. Lights go down, curtains go up, and it's show time again, four decades later. Presently operating as a non-profit corporation, the Murphy exists due to the help of many volunteers and private and corporate sponsors. The Murphy's season runs from September through May and is proud to feature nationally acclaimed entertainers. The founder of the theater was Charles Webb Murphy, who originally was a pharmacist and a writer. Murphy was easily bored with his pharmacy work and began writing. He was press agent for the Cincinnati Reds. Through this association, he learned that the Chicago Cubs were for sale, so in the early 1900s he boarded a train to Chicago and bought 51 percent interest in the team. With this ownership, he became a baseball icon and won the World Series, but soon became bored. He then moved back to Wilmington and with his profits from the ball team sale, he entered into a contract to build the Murphy Theatre. The contract to build was signed on a Friday the 13th in 1917. He hired craftsmen to build the theater and a year and a half later, and at a cost of $250,000, the theater opened on July 24, 1918. What a wonderful gift for Wilmington! Treat yourself to a special evening by making a point to see one of the shows at the Murphy. And don't forget, when the lights go down, close your eyes and imagine what it must have been like on opening night over 90 years ago.