Memories of Melody Top: Remembering Milwaukee’s Summer Stock Theatre

Melody Top Tickets

A message from Dan, creator of "Memories of Melody Top"

The first show I saw at Melody Top Theatre was THE MUSIC MAN in 1981, starring Orson Bean. My only memory of this production is the fire extinguishers placed underneath a wooden bench, used to represent steam from a railroad car (the setting for the musical's clever opening number). My parents took me to see this show, and I returned the following season for Jo Anne Worley and David Holliday in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. I remember everything about this production: from the start of the rousing overture to the finale with Jo Anne and David perched on top of wooden horses. After the show ended, I was allowed to stand outside the dressing rooms and to wait for autographs. Both stars autographed my program, and I still have it in my collection. This exciting production started my passion for musical theatre, and it has only grown over the decades. Since Melody Top’s demise in 1987, I have discovered many other places for me to enjoy musicals: dinner theatres, opera houses, regional theatres, performing arts centers (featuring everything from pre-Broadway tryouts to first national tours to bus-and-truck companies), cabaret bars, outdoor music festivals and now — the internet! I finally made it to Broadway in 1997 to see three shows: SUNSET BOULEVARD with Elaine Paige, VICTOR/VICTORIA starring Liza Minnelli and the smash hit revival of CHICAGO featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking and Joel Grey. I have seen CHICAGO on stage ten times, but my favorite musical will always be GYPSY.

(NOTE: Above are two of the four tickets my family forgot at home before we left to see a performance of MY FAIR LADY starring Christine Ebersole. Because we were season tickets holders, the staff in the box office gave us replacement tickets. Please notice the price on each ticket: $10.75 per seat in 1984, including 5% sales tax!)

Sally Marks

Sally Marks, who contributed so much to this website through her donation of Clyde Miller's scrapbooks, passed away on December 7, 2012 at the age of 82. I only met her a few times, but I will remember her as a warm and talkative woman who wanted to keep the memories of Melody Top alive for future generations. While she never appeared on Melody Top's stage, she was a bright and shining star in my world. I will always be grateful for her generous support and encouragement.

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