The Dixon: Historic Theatre celebrates baseball with 3 classic movies this weekend

Yakov Smirnoff is coming to the theater on April 5

Darren Mangler

The Dixon Municipal Band came to The Dixon: Historic Theater last Saturday and had the crowd dancing in their seats!

Two of the original Blues Brothers band members came and did songs from the movie plus many other tunes, both playing multiple instruments each. For those who are interested in seeing the next Dixon Municipal Band performance, they have a summer concert series and they’ll be back to The Dixon in December for their annual Christmas concert Saturday, Dec. 7. Mark it in your calendars because after this last show, we wouldn’t be surprised if it is sold out by fall!

Baseball season is starting! Our chairman of the board is a huge baseball fan and is looking forward to the start of the MLB season! And what better way to get into the spirit than to see three baseball movies at The Dixon this weekend. “A League of Their Own,” sponsored by Dixon Girls Fast Pitch, starts us off Friday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. Tom Hanks, Madonna and Jon Lovitz remind us there is no crying in baseball!

Then on Saturday, March 30, there’s a fabulous Kevin Costner doubleheader, with “Field of Dreams” at 3 p.m. and “Bull Durham” at 7:30 p.m., who reminds us that this isn’t heaven, it’s Iowa and when you get into a fight with a drunk, you don’t hit him with your pitching hand! Did you know that there are numerous plays and musicals about baseball? From “Damn Yankees” to “Bleacher Bums” to “National Pastime.” Maybe we should do one next year at The Dixon.

Speaking of new shows for next year, The Dixon: Historic Theatre is going to produce professional theater again for the first time in over a decade! With the new major upgrades, this beautiful theater is ready to bring back big musicals, hilarious comedies and heart-wrenching dramas to honor its glory days.

We invite you to “like” our Facebook page and send us a message telling us what kind of shows you’d like to see. Please don’t say “Phantom of the Opera.” The rights to that won’t be available for years. We will also be bringing in bands, variety acts, comedians, movies and many surprises! So please, let us know what kind of spectacle you’d come out to see! Our community is what matters, and we’d love to see you come again and again.

When’s the last time you’ve seen a legend of stand-up comedy live? Yakov Smirnoff is leaving Branson, Missouri, for one night to come to The Dixon to perform his new stand-up show! This is a rare opportunity to witness an icon of comedy in our own city. What better way to spend your Friday, April 5, than to grab a drink and get ready to laugh so hard it comes out of your nose? A little-known fact: I’m a professional stand-up comedian as well and one night at the LA Improv when I opened for Joe Rogan, he and I were discussing some of the older comics that were still successful, and Yakov’s name came up. He has his own theater in Branson. He sells out every show. He’s been in movies with Billy Crystal, Richard Pryor and Robin Williams. He had his own TV show based on his comedy. Ronald Reagan once asked Yakov to write him a joke the year he went to the Kremlin! This man has lived an amazing life and we can’t wait to hear what his years of experience are going to bring to the stage.

We all know that Ronald Reagan was the hometown President, but do you know who was president when this theater was built? Warren Harding in 1922. With an election coming up, how many presidents has this theater survived? The answer: 18!

We plan on being here 100 more years! As Leonard G. Rorer, the man who built the theater, said after being asked why he purchased the land where the old opera house stood, it was “for the purpose of erecting the finest show house to be found between Chicago and Des Moines and from Rockford to LaSalle.” That’s exactly what we want too, Mr. Rorer.

My first month in Dixon working at this historic theater has been amazing. The people I’ve met in the community, the staff I get to work with, the excitement of planning next year, and the kind support of our board has been exceptional. Also, after a month of visiting the area restaurants, I think it’s time I joined a gym!

Thank you so much for reading all the way through and we’ll see you at The Dixon!

  • Darren Mangler is The Dixon: Historic Theatre’s artistic producer.