Victorian magic lantern show comes to Muscatine

Hailed by National Public Radio as a “living national treasure,” the American Magic Lantern Theater has delighted audiences of all ages.

Travel back in time with the boisterous fun of America’s only Victorian magic lantern show, an authentic 1890’s visual extravaganza projected on a full-sized screen – the kind of show that led to the movies.

The American Magic Lantern Theater Company will use magic lantern “technology” to present a free holiday show for the public at 7:30 p.m., on Nov. 22, in the Central Middle School Auditorium. The magic lantern show is full of holiday cheer and appropriate for children ages 6 and up. All are welcome to this program offered free of charge thanks to grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine and the Howe Foundation.

Christmas stories like Scrooge, The Little Match Girl, and The Night Before Christmas will be featured along with animated comedy and songs – all dramatized on screen by a live showman and singer with a piano accompaniment. The audience participates in the fun, creating sound effects, and joining in chants and sing-along carols. For 25 years, the American Magic Lantern Theater has delighted audiences from New York City to Singapore.

Hailed by National Public Radio as a “living national treasure,” the American Magic Lantern Theater has delighted audiences of all ages.

 

The Muscatine Art Center is bringing the Connecticut-based company to the community as part of the humanities programs for the exhibition, “Jacob Riis: How the Other Half Lives.” Riis, a Danish immigrant, captivated audiences with stories, illustrated by photographs, of the slums in New York City and gave his first lantern slide lecture (a precursor to today’s digital presentations) featuring his photographs in 1888. Riis toured the United States delivering lectures to advocate for social change.

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Donations are appreciated. Visit www.muscatineartcenter.org for more information about programs and events and to download a class brochure.