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Yesterday in La Crosse

Did students still want to see plays? The question, 56 years ago

Brad Williams



In April of 1963, the La Crosse State campus newspaper, the Racquet, reported on a rumor that the speech department was only planning to stage two plays a year, instead of the usual three. The paper asked ‘Do most students on this campus want to see plays?’ Within a few years, the college expanded its theatre schedule to four major plays a year, and now, it also does a ‘Summerstage’ musical.

La Crosse’s newly-formed Community Theatre was getting ready for its very first production, opening in May of ’63. It was the comedy ‘The Matchmaker,’ which would soon be turned into the Broadway musical ‘Hello, Dolly.’ The play was performed at Longfellow Junior High School, and the community theatre would not get its own building until 1968.

Tall girls in town were told to ‘look ahead’ to summer in a newspaper ad. Estel Tall Fashions, across from the Cathedral, said the tall ladies should choose a swimsuit soon…maybe as soon as April, 1963, yesterday in La Crosse.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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