Historic Markers Across Alabama

The Demopolis Opera House / Lillian Hellman and The Little Foxes

Marker ID: AHA 
Location: the intersection of North Walnut Avenue and W. Capitol Street, Demopolis, Alabama
County: Marengo
Coordinates: N 32° 31.092    W 087° 50.267
  32.5182    -87.83778333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM5YEE


The Demopolis Opera House

In 1876, the town of Demopolis leased the former Presbyterian Church, a classic brick structure built in 1843 and occupied by federal troops during Reconstruction, to the Demopolis Opera Association. The association revitalized the building as a theater for live performances and civic lectures. Though heavily dependent upon local talent, the Opera House also featured professional actors and entertainers from places such as New York and New Orleans until its doors closed in 1902. Minstrel shows were frequent, popular attractions. Wealthy businessman Leonard Newhouse served the association as its secretary. He hand his wife Sophia Marx were the grandparents of playwright Lillian Hellman.

Lillian Hellman and The Little Foxes

Playwright Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) enjoyed her greatest stage triumph with The Little Foxes, which opened in New York on February 15, 1939, with Alabama actress Tallulah Bankhead in the lead role. Hellman's writings and personal history suggest her affluent Marx relatives from Demopolis were models for the fictional Hubbard family in Foxes. The play's mansion"Lionnet” bears strong resemblance to the stately Lyon family homes (Bluff Hall and Lyon Hall) in Demopolis. Hellman wrote the screenplay for the film version directed by William Wyler whose wife Margaret"Talli” Wyler was a relative of the Demopolis Tallichet family.

Erected 2003 by Alabama Historical Association.

End of The Demopolis Opera House / Lillian Hellman and The Little Foxes