Opera House to screen Fred Rogers documentary

Submitted Photo The Opera House Cinema Series will show a documentary on Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers), “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” It will be screened this Saturday and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

The next feature film in the Opera House Cinema Series is the acclaimed, uplifting documentary on Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers), “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” It will be screened this Saturday and Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m.

For more than 30 years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer and producer was beamed daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Rogers and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. There hadn’t been anything like Mr. Rogers on television before and there hasn’t been since.

Though he may be best known today as a soft-spoken, cardigan-wearing children’s television host, in reality, Rogers’ career represents a sustained attempt to present a coherent, beneficent view about how we should best speak to children about important matters and how television could be used as a positive force in our society. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” looks back on Rogers’ legacy, focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation changed around him, Rogers stood firm in his beliefs about the importance of protecting childhood.

Rafer Guzman, in Newsday, calls the film “a poignant tribute to the mild-mannered father-figure who served as moral compass to generations.” Walter Addiego, in the San Francisco Chronicle, calls it “enlightening and deeply touching.” Joe Morgenstern, in the Wall Street Journal, calls it “a beautiful film (that) celebrates a deeply good man with a great gift for repairing.” Calvin Wilson, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, says “at a time when tolerance and compassion often seem to be under siege, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ reminds us that the softest voices often have the strongest impact.” Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and language, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” runs one hour, 34 minutes.

The Opera House Cinema Series is sponsored by Lake Shore Savings Bank. Tickets are available at the door for $7 (adults), $6.50 (seniors & Opera House members) and $5 (students) the night of each screening. A book of 10 movie passes is available for $60 at the door or online at www.fredopera.org. Thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, the first 20 SUNY Fredonia students at each screening are admitted free. For more information, call the Opera House Box Office at 716-679-1891.

The Opera House is equipped with individualized closed captioning headsets for the deaf as well as with assistive listening headsets for the hearing-impaired. Simply request one from any usher or Opera House staff member.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit performing arts center located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.