1511 Euclid Avenue,
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The Playhouse Square Center (Official)
Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.
Architects: Thomas White Lamb
Styles: Renaissance Revival
Previous Names: Loew's Ohio Theatre
News About This Theater
- Mar 18, 2013 — “South Pacific” 55th Anniversary – The Roadshow Engagements
- Oct 19, 2011 — Happy 50th, "West Side Story"
- Oct 24, 2010 — "The Alamo"...Happy 50th!
- Mar 2, 2010 — Happy 45th, "The Sound Of Music"
- Feb 15, 2010 — How a search for a lecture hall led to the rescue of Cleveland's Playhouse Square theaters
- Nov 18, 2009 — Happy 50th, "Ben-Hur"
One of two theatres occupying the large Loew’s Building (the other being the State Theatre), the Ohio Theatre opened on February 14, 1921 with 2,153 seats. It was designed by Thomas W. Lamb and, as the name of the building implies, operated, like the State Theatre, by the Loew’s circuit.
The Ohio Theatre, unlike its larger sister, the State Theatre, was originally designed as a legitimate house, though by the Depression, was used more and more infrequently. In 1935, the Ohio Theatre was converted into the Mayfair Casino, which featured a nightclub with jazz acts onstage. However, the Mayfair Casino didn’t catch on, and closed within a year. Afterwards, the Ohio Theatre was reopened as a movie house, which it remained until 1969 when both it and the State Theatre were closed within a week of each other due to declining attendance.
Not long after closing in 1969, vandals set off the sprinklers inside the Ohio Theatre, ruining most of the ornate plasterwork décor throughout the theatre’s interior. In the early-1970’s, in both the Ohio Theatre and the State Theatre, the auditorium seats were removed and auctioned off, and the ceilings of both theatres were eventually opened in many places to the elements, allowing rain and snow inside. In its later years, the Ohio Theatre had more than its share of challenges. An extensive fire largely gutted the long, ornate inner lobby (which was rebuilt in a drab modern style), and the entire auditorium was painted fire engine red.
It was in a sorry state by the time the Playhouse Square Association (formed in 1970) began its ambitious plan to restore all four movie palaces in the Playhouse Square area (the State Theatre, Allen Theatre, Palace Theatre and Hanna Theatre) and slowly funds were raised for the restoration of the Ohio Theatre.
In 1977, Cuyahoga County purchased the Loew’s Building, and both of its theatres were added to the National Register of Historic Places the following year. The Ohio Theatre was the first to be restored, reopening in 1982. The auditorium was beautifully restored although with a different (cream and olive green) color scheme, and the modern lobby was freshened up, while the outer lobby was converted into a restaurant. Guests now entered the inner foyer from the State Theatre’s grand lobby.
In 1990, the rear part of the Ohio Theatre grand lobby was remodeled into a beautiful semi-Atmospheric style courtesy of a generous donation from the Reinberger Foundation. This was followed by a repainting of the auditorium in 1992 in its original colors and finally in 2016, the grand lobby was restored to its original appearance.
Today, restored to its former elegance, the Ohio Theatre is used for smaller stage performances, concerts and live theatre.
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