Best of Lake Geneva

Bringing Back The Belfry

Historic Theater With Hollywood Ties

What do Paul Newman, Harrison Ford and Gary Burghoff (Radar from M*A*S*H) all have in common? They all began their acting careers at a small summer stock theater in Delavan, Wisconsin, called the Belfry Theater.

You wouldn't expect such a humble beginning for Hollywood royalty, but the Belfry Theater helped pave the way for their success. The building still exists today and has been sitting vacant for many years, on the west side of 67, across from Mercy Hospital.

Back in 1949, when Paul Newman was a Resident Actor at the theater, the Belfry was known for the grueling pace of their repertory system. Actors worked in the scene shop all day and performed nearly every night and while it was said to be exhausting, it was an effective form of training. 

According to Jim...