Joe E. Brown

The Joe E. Brown Theatre has officially closed its curtains. The theatre was made in 1961 and now, 50 years later, has come to a close.

"The theatre was named after Joe Brown, who was a guest performer at BG," said Steve Boone, assistant professor in the department of theatre and film.

In 1959, Brown performed the lead role in the play "Harvey" in Gate Theatre, which was later replaced with Joe E. Brown Theatre. The theatre was named after Brown in honor of his wonderful performance for the University.

At the time, there was another theater named the Eva Marie Saint Theatre, which still exists at the University. Having both theatres in the University allowed Eva Marie Saint to show more popular plays while Joe E. Brown was used for different purposes.

"The theatre was first used for controversial plays," Boone said.

Soon, the theatre became popular and bigger performances were hosted there.

"The biggest performance was ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.' It had an orchestra along with the cast," Boone said. "The theatre was packed every night for two weeks."

However, the popularity of the theatre and its performances didn't save it from finally shutting down. There were some problems with the structure that could not be overlooked.

"The vent didn't work, so we were either dying of heat or freezing to death," Boone said. "There were no handicap places and [it] had some problems with the foundation."

Even though the theatre had some problems, the actors still enjoyed their time there.

"It has not really hit me that we will no longer be using the Joe E. Brown because these places have been so much like a home to all of us for so long that it almost doesn't feel real," said Elizabeth Brickey, a sophomore theater major at the University.

Brickey has been in "Eurydice" and "Summertime," both of which were in the Joe E. Brown Theatre.

"They were both such amazing experiences for me," Brickey said, "I absolutely loved the set of ‘Eurydice' because of its complexity. I feel like the designer and production team went to town on that one."

"Summertime" was also a very emotional performance for both Brickey and the other cast members.

"In ‘Summertime,' I was laughing and having a fantastic time with everyone from beginning to end of the production process," Brickey said. "As the cast of ‘Summertime' was getting ready for our last performance on Sunday, all of us kept saying things like ‘Last Joe E.' and ‘Let's send the Joe E. out with a bang.'"

Casey Toney, a senior who has also been in plays in the theatre had something to say as well.

"The Joe E. was almost like a home to me. I am really going to miss it, but at the same time, the promise for the new theatre in the Wolfe Center has me excited," Toney said.

Brickey is also excited about the opening of the Wolfe Center.

"I really feel blessed to have been a part of that history, but it is also overwhelmingly exciting to get to be a part of one of the first shows in the new Wolfe Center next semester," Brickey said, "Now a whole new set of history will soon be made in that building in the years to come."

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