Marshalltown’s jewel on Main Street

I am proud to say I am from Marshalltown. I was born and raised here, attended St. Henry’s and St. Mary’s schools and graduated from MHS Class of 1975. When I moved away in 1981, the future for the Orpheum Theater looked pretty bleak. I was sad to see, what I considered, my theater looking so tired and worn. After all, I had been going to movies there for nearly 25 years.

Fast forward to just last week. While I was visiting my dad, I got a message from my brother-in-law, Dr. Jay Edelnant, who was coincidentally directing the play, “Something’s Afoot” in the Orpheum Black Box Theater. He suggested I stop by and see for myself how beautifully the Orpheum had been restored.

I am so glad he did. I was given a personalized tour of the facility by Jeannine Loros, past guild president. I was very impressed by the quality of the restoration. I commented to Ms. Loros that Marshalltown did indeed have its jewel on Main Street once again, a treasure for all to share and be proud of.

That was when I was told that because the Orpheum was not generating the income it had hoped to, there was a very real possibility that existing programs would be cut. I was so shocked and saddened to hear that this landmark, so beautifully brought back to life, could be dimmed again.

To me, the saddest thing is when good people stay silent and do nothing. To me, the saddest words are, “I would have helped, I could have helped, I should have helped. But I didn’t, and now it’s too late.” It isn’t too late for the Orpheum. The citizens of Marshalltown can show support by attending events, going to live performances or enjoying the $4 movies and a great cup of coffee. Go to to see the upcoming events and how you can get involved. Make your concerns known to IVCCD board members who are making these decisions. Check out the Orpheum’s Facebook page. Even though I only get back to Iowa about once a year, I plan to become one of the “Friends of the Orpheum”. It is the least I can do for my theater.

I hope I never have to ask the question, “Whatever happened to the Orpheum?”