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Note: This discussion is related to the The Rhododendron article. Please read the article in full before contributing to the discussion. Thanks!

Comments about The Rhododendron

Name Message

Mike Connell says...

On 09/19/12
at 11:12 AM

As a boy, I performed on The Rhododendron in the summers of 1964 and 1965. My brothers remember its tug sinking at Point Marion, Pa., which I believe was in 1966. Later that year, West Virginia sold the showboat to Clinton, Iowa, where I believe it is still in use as a theater, but it is dry docked.

Mike Connell says...

On 09/19/12
at 11:13 AM

One of the adult cast members on the showboat in 1965, by the way, was Bob Silberstein, who is perhaps best known as the husband of Diana Ross.

Kristin Katsu says...

On 06/04/14
at 01:01 PM

I work at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, which is housed on the former Rhododendron! We are writing a Variety Show that includes some of the boat’s history. I’d love to include some of this information in the comments and any other stories you remember. -Kristin Katsu Education Director

Bela Berty says...

On 04/08/17
at 05:50 PM

I visited the Rhododendron in 1963 at age 14 in Charleston’s riverfront with my Dad to see the play East Lynne. That occasion was one of the sparks for my career of serving as crew aboard 20 boats on 29 waterways. I visited that boat again in Clinton, Iowa, in 2006. She is not in a dry-dock but sits on the levee above the flood-line.

H. Maxwell Padon says...

On 10/17/21
at 12:44 PM

I was a member of the first cast and crew of The Rhododendron in the Summer of 1963 conducting tours, acting as crew when the boat moved, and doing 101 performances as the villain in “East Lynne,” the melodrama first performed in 1863, the year West Virginia was admitted to the Union.

The summer of the state’s bicentennial celebration, the cast of 10 made it a point that at least one cast member would shake the hand of every person who attended a show. We began the summer hitching rides with tow boats on the Kanawha, but it soon became apparent that we could not keep a schedule, so a towboat was engaged to move the boat. In addition to the cast of 10, we had a technical director, Captain, First Mate, and Purser, and later added a deckhand. Every person on the boat was born in, attending school in, or living in West Virginia. The Tech Director and cast members, with one exception, all were college students, or recent college graduates of West Virginia colleges. A painting of the boat still is hanging in my house.

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