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The Benge Family Collection - Inside the Casa Playhouse

Fort Worth Library

Sound | 1960s

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TAMI Tags
  •  The history of the Casa Mañana 
  •  
    On-Stage in 10 Steps
     
  •  On-Stage Creatively 
  •  Movement for the Actor 
  •  A Play Is Born 
  •  Student productions 
  •  A closer look at the playhouse audience 
  •  Huckleberry Finn 
  •  Cinderella 
 
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“Inside the Casa Playhouse” is a 1960s promotional film for the Fort Worth theater, Casa Mañana. Narrated by Melvin Dacus, the film mainly focuses on the theater’s Playhouse School, with training courses such as “On-Stage Creatively” and “Movement for the Actor.” In addition to practicing acting techniques, students learn skills such as costuming and fencing. The playhouse also runs theater workshops, allowing students to audition for parts in end-of-year productions like Peter Pan. The original Casa Mañana was built in 1936 by famed Broadway producer Billy Rose to coincide with Texas Centennial celebrations. It featured the world’s largest revolving stage surrounded by a moat. (The stage curtain was actually a water wall projected by fountains.) Although the theater planned to open for another season the following year, cost overruns and the threat of World War II forced the Casa Mañana to close. A new Casa Mañana, nicknamed the “House of Tomorrow,” opened at the same location on July 5, 1958, this time as a domed, in-the-round theater. It remained in-the-round until 2003, when renovations converted the theater to a modified thrust stage.