Famous Entertainers That Have Performed in Hannibal
Hannibal's historic entertainment venues - a few of which are still operational - have hosted every type of celebrity there is. Some of the most famous stars of stage, screen, and vaudeville have performed in America's Hometown. It would probably be impossible to track down information for every single notable performer that has come through Hannibal over the years, but we've been able to come up with a pretty good list of names you will recognize.
There was an interesting photograph and notation in Steve Chou's Bluff City Memories about the Park Opera House, which once stood at Fifth and Center. This was referenced in the April issue of Hannibal Magazine. According to Chou, Buffalo Bill performed there, as did the most famous magician of all time, Harry Houdini.
The Marx Brothers are just one of the famous acts that appeared at the Orpheum Theater in its day. In 2011, the Hannibal Courier-Post wrote a very interesting article detailing the building's history. It's recommended reading. The article can be found online.
The Star Theatre on Main Street dates back to 1906. According to the theater, Amelia Erhart and Roy Rogers and Trigger were among the famous faces that appeared there. The Star Theatre also played the first talking movie on its screen.
Another act that appeared at the Orpheum Theater. According to the Hannibal Courier-Post article, the Stooges came to Hannibal before they were The Three Stooges, as sidekicks to the famous vaudeville act Ted Healy. It is not known whether it was Larry, Curly and Moe that performed in Hannibal, or if it was Larry, Shemp and Moe (or maybe all four?).
The Riverfront Amphitheater in Hannibal hosted several notable acts in the 80s. The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and REO Speedwagon were just a few of the famous bands/musicians that played on Hannibal's riverfront. A listener of Y101 radio recently posted a photo of old ticket stubs from the Riverfront Amphitheater on Facebook. We were amazed she still had them!
They don't get much more famous than Ol' Blue Eyes. Sinatra reportedly played at the Orpheum Theater, as did Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Tommy Dorsey, and Lucille Ball. It is possible that these acts, or some of these acts, were at the theater when it was called the Tom Sawyer Theater. In any case, regardless of the name, these stars were all at Fifth and Broadway at one time or another.
The Oak Ridge Boys were in Hannibal not too long ago. A couple times, in fact. The soon-to-be-inducted members of the Country Music Hall of Fame played at Clemens Field in 2009, and then came back for a Fourth of July weekend concert in 2010.